Lawrence Gonzi’s administration has very little to shout about. Time and time again, his government has been proved wrong; his decisions unpopular and results unmentionable. A short while ago, his last bastion that of creating 20,000 jobs also fell. His figures were contradicted by the government’s own statistical arm as well as by Eurostat. When the Prime Minister tried to give an explanation of his claims, it became obvious that there was a mathematical repetitive error that GonziPN interpreted wrongly. The bottom line is where the Gonzi government has failed, be it in economic terms as well as in employment figures.
A vast majority of what Gonzi terms as ‘new jobs’, is merely shifting of personnel from one employment to another. An analysis of the jobs ‘created’ by the Gonzi government, shows that the government is only interested in numbers. This is evident through statistics that show that Malta lags far behind when it comes to hourly labour rates and a minimum wage well below the world average rate. Whereas Joseph Muscat has repeatedly said that the Labour party in government will work towards meaningful employment, job satisfaction and a living wage, GonziPN does not seem to realise the difference between quality and quantity.
Recently the government has taken action to rectify another blunder concerning conditions of work. The government has decided to cancel a tender with a local contractor, who provides security services to a number of Government departments. It decided to do so after the contractor was found guilty of infringing employment regulations, particularly that of abusing his employees, both by way of underpaying staff as well as through non-observance of working conditions.
The General Workers Union had also spoken about workers in precarious employment on several occasions. Yet the Government, as usual, did not see the writing on the wall. GonziPN waited for a decision before taking action. A serious government would have conducted investigations whenever justified claims were made and would have acted swiftly and efficiently in the interests of all workers.
Government should lead by example, even in the case of employment conditions. Many a time, Government tenders for work using human resources, do not take established conditions and work practices into consideration. The GWU has been insisting on the above for a long time. The union has also expressed its opinion that public tenders should have a stipulation of conditions of work and this at bidding stage. Government should not award any public tender to companies that do not have conditions of work agreement.
Recently, the GWU has held meetings with both major political parties. The union said that the document presented to the parties, included proposals to eliminate precarious employment from our islands.
Labour party leader Joseph Muscat spoke against precarious employment during a political speech last May, as well as on other occasions.
GonziPN waits for a court decision before it takes any action.