Public sector workers will be awarded a weekly increase of €3.50, as part of a €10 million spend on bettering wages, the finance minister has announced.

The increase will be over and above the yearly increase in terms of the collective agreement.

Clyde Caruana told journalists in a pre-budget briefing the government will be taking on a proposal made by trade unions to better wages for public service employees as the amounts provided by their collective agreements were not adequate to keep up with the rising cost of living.

Private-sector employees who work under government contracts will also be entitled to this adjustment, which will cost an estimated €3 million with the aim of bettering these wages to scale.

In 2017 a new collective agreement for public service employees saw around 30,000 government employees get a wage increase. 

The agreement saw a spend of €17 million going towards increasing public sector workers’ salaries during the first year the agreement came into effect, with the spend on wage increases set to go up to €20.5 million in 2024. 

That same year, a change in public service rules saw hundreds of employees switched from fixed-term contracts to indefinite contracts. Prior to this, a large number of public service positions were issued on a three-year definite contract, which could be extended by a further three years. 

However, the new regulations made it so that positions outside of senior management are automatically filled for an indefinite period once probation is completed. 

In the run-up to the last general election, employers complained of a drain in talent as they noted a number of workers leaving private industry to take up public jobs. 

At the time, Prime Minister Robert Abela had defended the growth in the public sector, saying most of the jobs had been created in the education and health sectors.

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