The Malta Independent 16 October 2019, Wednesday

Turkish construction workers being paid double the minimum wage – Joseph Muscat

Albert Galea Sunday, 3 March 2019, 10:40 Last update: about 9 months ago

Turkish workers brought to Malta to work in the construction industry are being paid double Malta’s minimum wage, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said in a radio interview on Sunday morning.

He said that it was important that the government ensures that these workers, of which he said there are currently 60 present on the island, are treated with dignity in terms of the salaries and living quarters.


Muscat also noted that the way certain people were describing the arrival of these Turkish workers was bordering on xenophobia. He reiterated that assertions that there will be 5,000 Turks taking up residence in Malta were untrue and that the true number of these workers coming to Malta was 500.

On this subject, Muscat said that the government would like to see Maltese children continue their studies so that they can find a “better and more comfortable” job than spending days in the sun working, but noted that naturally somebody would have to do this type of work either way – be them foreigners or locals.  What the government does not want to do, Muscat said, was create a disadvantage against Maltese workers.

The Malta Independent on Sunday today reported that the number of Turkish workers coming to Malta depends on the contracts awarded to the company that employs them. Speaking to the newspaper, TACA Construction – the company responsible for importing the workers - said that there were 78 workers currently in Malta and that they were receiving an average monthly salary of €1,450.

In his brief interview on ONE Radio, Muscat also commented on an activity held at Castille were emergency responders and civil protection workers were invited to the Prime Minister’s offices, saying that he, like the whole of Malta, was very proud of them and wanted to thank them personally for their work in making sure that there were no serious injuries or deaths during last week’s record storm.

The Prime Minister also made reference to an initiative for workers within the disciplinary corps which was announced by the government in the past few days, wherein Finance Minister Edward Scicluna and Home Affairs Minister Michael Farrugia announced a scheme that would see the families of those who are injured or killed in the line of duty would be given up to four years of salary in compensation, over and above everything that these workers already have.

Speaking on a report issued by the International Monetary Fund, Muscat said that he was pleased to see the positives that were indicated in the report as well as the weaknesses found, as in the case of the latter the government can look to fix those weaknesses.

He said that one must also take such reports in context and compare what is happening in other countries as well.  He said that certain people were saying that the country was in the gravest situations, however if one sees what institutions such as the European Commission is saying about other countries than one can easily conclude that these other countries are in a worse situation than Malta.

Finally, Muscat commented on the most recent surveys – issued today in It-Torca and MaltaToday – and said that the party could not count its chickens before they hatched. He said that the party must keep its feet on the ground and keep working to see what people are really thinking and what is really bothering them.

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