Despite experiencing robust economic growth in recent years, workers in Malta are still getting paid way below the European average, according to the latest data published by the EU’s statistics office.

It transpires that, in 2016, the average hourly payment rate across all member states was €23 but in Malta it stood at nearly half of the amount ‒ €13 per hour.

Known as the average rate of compensation, the data shows the highest-paid employees are in Luxembourg and in the Brussels city region with an hourly rate of €44. On the other hand, workers in three regions in Bulgaria and the north-eastern region of Romania get less than a tenth of this amount, with €4 an hour. 

In fact, both Eastern European countries ranked last, preceded by Poland, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia and Croatia.

Apart from Luxembourg, which tops the list, the highest-paid employees are in Denmark, followed by Belgium and the Netherlands.

Malta is ranked in 16th place in the list, just ahead of Greece, Portugal and Estonia and immediately behind Spain, Slovenia and Cyprus.

From this analysis, which was carried out by region, it transpired that hourly compensation was often the highest in cities, with the exception of Oberbayern, in Germany, Inner London West in the United Kingdom, Bolzano in Italy, PaísVasco in Spain and Dytiki Makedonia in Greece.

Separate data published by EU agency Eurofound a fortnight ago showed that, this year, Malta had the lowest increase in the minimum wage across all member states. 

According to this review the hourly rate of Malta’s minimum wage went up from €4.25 last year to €4.33 in 2019, which translated to a 1.9 per cent increase. In comparison, the minimum wage in Spain rose by 22 per cent while in Greece it went up by 11 per cent.

However, Malta’s minimum wage of €762 per month was still ranked at “medium level” alongside that in Portugal, Spain, Greece and Slovenia. Yet, when compared to the EU’s minimum wage average of €924, Malta lags significantly behind.

This trend prompted criticism from UĦM Voice of the Workers against the government’s policy of importing thousands of non-EU workers every year. According to the union, too much emphasis on cheap labour would eventually hit Maltese workers hard as they would be priced out from certain sectors of the labour market.

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