The UĦM yesterday morning took time out to mark Labour Day and to bring its members up to date on where it is at, what it has achieved to date and where it is going.
The Secretary General, Josef Vella, deplored the fact that we still have workers among us who depend on overtime to make ends meet because a family of four cannot survive on less than Eur25,000 and people of pensionable age who cannot retire because they cannot afford to live off their pensions. He also expressed solidarity with those workers who have no option but to work under precarious conditions. Let us not presume that precarious work is a thing of the past. It is still very much an everyday reality for our most vulnerable workers and what is unacceptable is that no real effort is being made to eliminate it once and for all.
The UĦM calls for the government to take bold steps to eliminate this uncertainty once and for all by ensuring decent working conditions for each and every worker. One way this can be done is by obliging employers to use the templates on the ETC portal to draw up employment contracts – once signed, each contract would be registered on the ETC portal and no employer would be able to get away with contracts which do not meet the minimum conditions of work.
Another aspect the UĦM is tirelessly working on is the upskilling of Maltese workers through the setting up of the Skills Council. The UĦM cannot stand idly by while employers look elsewhere for highly skilled workers in the fields of gaming, pharmaceuticals and financial services.
The UĦM welcomes the influx of members from the disciplined forces – a first in the history of trade unionism in Malta – and is doing its utmost to understand how it can best serve their needs through dialogue with their representatives. It is also constantly striving to ensure the rights of members in the transport sector and the Freeport. Josef Vella’s promise to the latter in particular is that he is going to ensure that a collective agreement is reached which addresses their current issues and meets their daily needs. This is what the UĦM does best, if it has its members trust and full cooperation.