Anti-Poverty Forum Malta calls for an adequate minimum income mechanism

The Forum says that the unemployed sector, including pensioners, that are struggling to make ends meet, should not be forgotten

The Forum said that Malta cannot implement a one size fits all system
The Forum said that Malta cannot implement a one size fits all system

Anti-Poverty Forum Malta said that the country should adopt an adequate minimum income mechanism, rather than an adequate minimum wage.

In a statement, the Forum said that Malta cannot implement a one size fits all system, when adapting the EU Adequate Minimum Wage directive.

MEPs and negotiators for the EU member states have reached a provisional deal for a European directive that will guarantee adequate minimum wages in the EU.

Member states with statutory minimum wages will be requested to put in place a procedural framework that updates minimum wages according to a set of clear criteria.

APF said that since the EU directive focuses only on employed people, the unemployed sector – including pensioners, should not be neglected.

It suggested that apart from a basic adequate minimum wage, top-ups/wage supplements are provided by the Government, according to different family set-ups

APF called on government to address inflation. “Malta should work to increase ordinary persons’ purchasing power. It is useless to increase the minimum wage if prices continue to rise. Government should scrupulously monitor and intervene if the market fails in essential sectors.”

It said that although some might argue that a minimum wage increase would push up salaries on higher scales proportionally, the proportionality is inversely proportional to the ordinary person’s purchasing power.

“To this extent, this proportionality within jobs needs to be revised for the increase in the minimum wage to be sustainable.”

APF said that direct assistance and schemes should be utilised to adequately support people on minimum income. It emphasised that such schemes should address essential goods such as groceries and all medicinal products required.

It also called on the government to conduct a Reference Budget and hold the Household Budgetary Survey annually in order to have up-to-date statistics. 

Malta last updated its minimum wage in 2017, with a gradual increase that was spread over three years. But it also increases the minimum wage automatically every year through the Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA), a weekly wage increment brokered with the social partners, that is based on retail price index increases.

APF Malta is a network of 16 local organisations working together as a network on poverty. The Forum organises a number of conferences, seminars and focus groups, promotes research, disseminates information and creates awareness on poverty in Malta.