Platform work: Malta misses EU’s precarious work directive deadline

Opposition to draft policy recommendations on platform workers, Maltese Living Income document being published on Friday


Malta has been given two months to adopt the European Union’s new law against precarious working conditions after it missed the 1 August deadline by which it was to transpose the new rules into national legislation.

The new EU law deals specifically with ‘platform workers’ such as the hundreds of food delivery drivers whose far-from-satisfactory working conditions have been under the spotlight in Malta.

The government’s failure to transpose comes despite the issue of precarious work and homelessness having been very much in focus in Malta over the last few years, with good reason, and with social inequality levels demonstrably rising.

The issue of precarious work and abusive working conditions resurfaced in the Maltese headlines lately when the plight of the hundreds of food delivery drivers, many of foreign origin, was brought to the fore.

In fact, the EU directive that Malta appears to be ignoring deals specifically with the plight of the ‘platform workers’ – food delivery drivers, taxi drivers, and home care workers – that have been in the Maltese headlines lately over their dire working conditions, which have been likened time and time again to a form of modern-day slavery.

The Commission has now launched infringement proceedings against Malta over its failure to act. Malta will have two months in which to conform to the EU law or it will be issued with a reasoned opinion, after which the country will be hauled before the European Court of Justice over the matter.

The EU directive in question (Directive 2019/1152 on transparent and predictable working conditions) aims in particular to help the estimated two to three million workers across the European Union engaged in precarious forms of employment.

Amongst a raft of measures, the new EU law provides updated and more extensive labour rights and protection for workers in the EU.

The new rules will, for example, give workers the right to more predictability about assignments and working time, and to have timely and more complete information about the essential aspects of their job, such as place of work and remuneration.

In particular, the directive addresses insufficient protection for workers in more precarious jobs and covers all forms of work including zero-hour contracts, casual work, domestic work, voucher-based work and platform work.

These workers will now be afforded protection, once Malta transposes the legislation, and the new rules also come with targeted enforcement provisions.

Opposition kicks off workers’ rights campaign

The opposition, meanwhile, on Thursday kicked off its Conditions – Rights and Work campaign. The opposition said it will now study and recommend action after “the government for several months failed to address the problem faced by these so-called platform workers”.

The initiative was announced by PN MPs Ivan Castillo, Graziella Attard Previ and Darren Carabott.

The opposition took the government to task for having missed the 1 August deadline by which the new EU law was to have been transposed into national legislation, “despite the fact that the government had the EU new law in its hands for three years”.

The PN accused the government of having done nothing to address the conditions of workers on zero-hour contracts, and that it does not have any solutions – with the consequence that such workers are being treated as “modern-day slaves”.

“We are living in a country where Maltese and foreigners are being exploited, with workers being imported with the promise of dignified work… only to end up being exploited,” the MPs warned.

Maltese Living Income study results out on Friday

On Friday afternoon, the General Workers Union, Moviment Graffitti and Alleanza Kontra l-Faqar are scheduled to publish the final document of their joint Maltese Living Income initiative.

The final research from the study was over a year in the making and was commissioned by and carried out by Re-Think Advisory Group.

Material deprivation rates increasing

According to recent figures published by the National Statistics Office, the number of people at risk of poverty and social exclusion is on the rise.

The NSO reported at the end of August on the European Statistics on Income and Living Conditions, which shows the number of people living below the at-risk-of-poverty line (an annual income of €9,212) was no less than 82,758 – translating into an at-risk-of-poverty rate of 17.1 per cent, 0.3 percentage points higher than figures for the preceding year.

Moreover, the severe material deprivation rate in Malta stood at 3.6 per cent – up 0.6 percentage points. At 20.1 per cent, the at-risk-of-poverty or social exclusion rate also increased, by 1.1 percentage points.


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1 year ago

This directive will hit the governments close friends who are making money from this modern day slavery. My guess is that the government will commission Pawlu Lia to put holes into the transcribed directive taking the EU for a ride.

1 year ago

If you are fed up with your work conditions why not fly to Islamabad or Mumbai?

1 year ago
Reply to  Bamboccu

Why don’t you start working in your own country and then you don’t need foreign workers.

Francis Said
Francis Said
1 year ago

Three years and the banana government does nothing. Results:
Poverty is increasing under this supposed Partit Tal Haddiema;
The Communists/Capitalists are getting richer thanks to direct orders;
Construction workers should also be included in the exercise;
We manage to irritate the EU institutions;
The Chinese massage centres and gentlemen’s whose third country nationals not only are paid peanuts, but must offer other services to.
When we require EU funds we are always first in line.
SHAME on Malta with the pro business mentality, we have also become a cheap labour Country. This is tantamount to human trafficking.

Joseph Bugeja
Joseph Bugeja
1 year ago
Reply to  Francis Said

You mean to tell us that we were not a cheap labour country before?!!! You must definitely have been very ‘busy’ not to notice!!! I really expected better from you but I’m definitely convinced now that it’s useless trying to reason with your sort.
All the ailments you mentioned were much more acute in your ‘better’ times!!!

1 year ago

The PL stood for Partit Laburista a long time ago. 
Too much money and time was buried in a stupid metro.
Far too much money and time squandered on the current UN team.

Way too much money and time was spent serving relatives and others.

ROBBER Abela can have a many too cheaply stated farm house torn down and rebuilt.

Way too much money and time has been spent in Panama, …. housed and taken out of the country.
Once again the simple and righteous people have to suffer.
This is just embarrassing for the PL, now AKA party of looters.

These alleged politicians don’t give a damn about people, they just belong in jail

Out of Curiosity
Out of Curiosity
1 year ago

Where is DIER in all this? Few months ago they were investigating Bolt and Wolt over irregularities and exploitation of workers. What is the outcome? You bunch of puppets in the hands of your corrupt masters!

Joseph Bugeja
Joseph Bugeja
1 year ago

The P.N. opposition and The Shift News can write books and not solely articles but though they may be right on several points in the article they are nonetheless not trustworthy.
They’ve been there (though not on just platform workers) and we all know the results.
I am a pensioner…try to convince me!!!

Wonder man
Wonder man
1 year ago

It’s really like the dark truth I only heard about it ” modern day slave “in Europe but I never thought that I would be part of it . Like me there are thousands of them who had paid high price like around 10 thousand euros to get here in malta in search of better life easy work condition, work of your choice and all but in reality everything is up right down here nor your are getting job of your choice and your capabilities not your getting paid as per the law all you are is bound by your so called job placement company neither you have your field job nor you get paid well because they are having their share just sitting in the middle .

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