Prime Minister Robert Abela has pledged to forfeit a month’s worth of his salary as a gesture of solidarity to people struggling with the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis and has urged other highly-paid people in the public sector other to do likewise.
Asked by Lovin Malta whether he believed anyone in the civil sector who earns more than €40,000 should take a pay cut to help fund small businesses struggling to make ends me, Abela announced that he would forfeit a month’s worth of his salary as Prime Minister.
“I’ve made this gesture because this is how I see things,” he said. “I won’t force any public official to reduce their salary but the spirit of solidarity is there and should be there. This is the time of ‘us’, which means we must all show solidarity with each other.”
“I know some people are suffering, that the fear and uncertainty they’re feeling is getting in the way of their work. This will be a moment that defines us and we should help those who are less privileged.”
Abela had just revealed that all workers, self-employed or otherwise, in industries, brought to a grinding halt by COVID-19 closures and bans will be guaranteed up to €1,200 every month through a state and private industry agreement.
However, others which will soon feel the effects of a global recession weren’t so lucky, getting just paid just one day a week of the €800 benefit. Professional services, construction, and IT received nothing.
Other measures like tax referrals will remain in place.
The outbreak of the COVID-19 coronavirus in Malta has seen the government roll out necessary but drastic measures to combat its spread.
Flights are closed, as are non-essential shops, non-essential services, bars, restaurants, gyms, among others. Most businesses are closed for the time being, with the entire economy facing a significant downturn.
Redundancies have already started and are predicted to continue.
The measures are aimed to address these concerns. The government repeatedly said that these measures were the first ahead of others which will be launched over the next few months, depending on how the global situation develops.
Abela also stressed that the government could not blow its huge reserves just yet, explaining that if the situation worsened within three months, the government would need to have its entire war chest at its disposal