The confederation of Maltese Trade Unions (For.U.M.) and Movement Graffitti accused government of caving in to pressure by employers after suspending regulations protecting workers’ rights.
Legal Notices published last week revising rules on vacation leave and payslips have been withdrawn with government claiming it will go back to the drawing board and discuss them with social partners after employers associations objected to the new regulations.
“This is not the first occurrence where proposed improvements in employment conditions were halted to the detriment of employees. An example is the Government’s pledge to enable employees to use their sick leave to take care of their sick children. The swiftness with which the Government suspended the legal notice does not augur well towards the improvement of employees’ conditions,” For.U.M. said.
The suspended regulations included allowing workers to have their annual leave allotment continue to accrue even when employees were on maternity, sickness or injury leave and even when on unpaid leave.
The regulations ensured that once granted, leave could not be revoked under any circumstances and employers could only utilise up to 12 working days from the annual leave entitlement for the shutdown period.
Another Legal Notice stipulated that employers would be bound to give employees an itemised payslip which should include the total wages paid, the number of normal and overtime hours worked and the respective pay rates for Sundays or public holidays if applicable, the annual leave and sick leave balance to date for that calendar year and any breakdown of any bonuses, allowances and commissions received.
Movement Graffitti said “it is shameful that employers’ associations are opposing these common-sense regulations aimed at ensuring the very basic workers’ right to days of rest and to information about one’s pay.”
The left-wing organisation added that while many workers in Malta have to endure low wages and bad working conditions, “employers have consistently vetoed any effort to improve the conditions of workers and have even opposed, successfully, a raise in Malta’s meagre minimum wage.”
Noting that the withdrawn regulations are the very bare minimum for safeguarding workers’ rights, Movement Graffitti said “the fact that employers’ associations are forcefully opposing even these very basic provisions goes to show their disregard for their workers, without whom they would not be making a cent of their profits.”
Calling on government to immediately reinstate these regulations, Moviment Graffitti said “the Labour Government ought to prioritise workers’ interests and should not bend to the will of a lobby group that is seeking to maximise profits at the cost of the workers’ basic wellbeing.”