The Malta Independent 22 January 2021, Friday

Update 2: Minimum wage will rise by €8 per week by 2019, 'increase cosmetic' says NGO

Thursday, 27 April 2017, 11:54 Last update: about 5 years ago

The minimum wage will rise by €8 per week by 2019. The increase, over and above the cost of living adjustment, will be of more than €400 per year in two years’ time, Civil Dialogue Minister Helena Dalli said.

Minister Dalli, accompanied by MCESD President John Bencini, called the press to give more details on the agreement on the increase in minimum wage. 

The agreement will be officially signed tomorrow. The Prime Minister, Leader of the Opposition and all MCESD members have unanimously agreed to sign the papers. 

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The agreement states that employees on minimum wage will, upon completion of the first year of employment with same employer, be entitled to an increase of €3 euros per week in their second year of employment. An additional €3 will be added upon completion of the second year. 

By 2019, the minimum wage would have increased by €6 per week. With this, employees in minimum wage employment will also be given a supplement of €1 each year on the Cola thus reaching a total increase of €8 per week by 2019.

John bencini explained that this agreement has the full backing of the Opposition and he thanked them for the support. He said that NGOs have been calling for an increase in minimum wage and caritas had paved the way through a study.

NGOs who did campaign for this cause were calling for an increase of €800 annually. With €8 per week, the increase promised will now reach a little more than €400.

The agreement will also launch a Low Wage Commission which is to be set up by te year 2020. The aim of the commission is to establish a mechanism effective to determine whether the minimum wage will need to be reviewed. The commission will be obliged to carry out necessary assessments every four years. 

In a first reaction, Partiti Demokratiku leader Marlene Farrugia said the rise is "too little, not enough to make the leap away from being poor despite working hard."

Writing on Facebook, Dr Farrugia said that spending power of minimum wage earners has to be improved further. "Dignity, not hand outs. Hand outs do not count to convince a bank to lend you money to secure a place to live. They look at the salary.

Increase in minimum wage is cosmetic, insignificant - Minimum wage campaign

Activist and leader of Moviment Graffiti Andre Callus has described the €8 weekly increase in the minimum wage as cosmetic. In comments to The Malta Independent, Mr Callus said that the increase is not even half of what they campaign for.

"We campaign for a very conservative increase of 11% over three years. This does not even meet the request half way."

He said that the change announced today is insignificant and the Kampanja Favur Paga Minima Nazzjonali is very disappointed with the meagre increase of around €400 annually.

"Government needs to revisit and deliver the 11 per cent over three years that Miceli and KPMN suggested."

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