The Labour Party “agrees in principle” with forcing workers to join a union, according to its election manifesto.

Former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat had in 2018 encouraged a “discussion” about the proposal, which at the time was pitched by the General Workers’ Union.

The proposal has now made its way into the party’s manifesto, with Labour committing to begin discussions with social partners on how to implement the measure.

When Muscat had first floated the idea four years ago, the three main employers’ associations had pushed back, arguing it would impinge on people’s rights.

The Malta Employers’ Association, the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry and the Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association had all argued the decision to join a union or organisation should be left entirely up to the individual employee or company.

A new Labour government is also committing itself to abolish zero-hour work contracts, which have become increasingly popular in the food delivery and hospitality sectors.

A new wage supplement scheme for businesses will also be set up, with the aim of mitigating the impact on business due to adverse “international events.

The supplement will go up to a maximum of €800 a month for six months.

Aid will be repaid over a five-year period starting from return to profitability.

Companies bidding for public contracts that pay more than the minimum wage to their workers will be given “substantial advantages”.

Labour is also committing itself to introduce a right to disconnect for all workers.

Last year, Labour MEP Alex Agius Saliba had secured the adoption of two European projects that will pave the way to a European directive on the right to disconnect and telework.

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