The Malta Independent 3 February 2023, Friday
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Partial strikes

Alfred Sant MEP Monday, 23 January 2023, 08:00 Last update: about 11 days ago

As extensive strikes spread across Europe, mostly because inflation is creating so many problems for workers and their families, one cannot but note how strikes in this country have tailed off in recent years.

The truth is that workers worst affected by inflation are to be found in the jobs with least remuneration. In the main, these are held by foreign workers. They do not have trade union protection.

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The toughest clashes here now arise in the public sector with partial strikes, if that is the right way by which to describe what happens. While workers go to work, they follow union directives which instruct them not to carry out part of their duties. Actually,this might still end up paralysing their work stations. The workers who implement these measures continue to receive full pay.

Back in the 1970’s, such industrial action created mayhem. The Labour government refused to let the tactic play out. It proclaimed that either unions declared a strike, and it would then respect their rights to do so, or they should keep mum. At the time, the tactic of partial strikes could be deployed along a very wide front.

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FINTECH

Developments are proceeding fast in that part of the financial services sector that feeds off the internet, the so-called fintech. Firms are capturing work that banks usually do... or that banks are not coping with. And they are inventing new ways of making funds available to consumers. In this way they are meeting the demands of generations who are used to the electronic give and take, for they were born in it.

Fintech enterprises are managing to greatly speed up payment systems and the way by which commercial data is being located and used. In money markets, they have been introducing financial models that in a short while revolutionised finance. While with the deployment of electronic systems, banks and traditional financial institutions distanced themselves from the consumer, the same systems have brought fintech and related enterprises closer to him/her.

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E-SCOOTERS

In Paris, a referendum is going to be held regarding whether the use of e-scooters should be allowed. It’s easy to understand why. Though they offer various advantages by way of relieving traffic congestion, the manner by which they are driven frequently creates big, at times very dangerous problems. Not just in Paris. I see them heppening all the time in Brussels and Malta.

They get driven against direction in a one-way street; without any attention being paid to pedestrians on zebra crossings; sometimes on pavements, sometimes in the middle of the road; or they get left no matter how on narrow pavements; plus other abuses.

Their development and use has taken place without any guidance or controls. Perhaps that has been the problem. A tool that could have become part of the solution to the problems of urban traffic has ended up contributing to make the situation worse. As of now, no European city seems to have discovered a reasonable approach by which to deal with the matter.

                       

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