An €8 per week minimum wage increase agreed upon by politicians and social partners is too low and could be abused by employers, activists have warned. 

Activists from the Campaign for a Decent Minimum Wage said that while they recognised positive aspects of the deal, it fell short of workers' expectations. 

"This increase does not guarantee a fair and decent wage. The proposed 11 per cent over three years is conservative and this increase is not even half of what we proposed." 

The deal struck by the government and social partners will see the minimum wage rise by €8 a week by 2019, with minimum wage earners who have completed a first year of employment entitled to a mandatory €3 per week increase in their second year of work and another €3 per week in the third year.

Linking wage increases to employment periods opened the system up to abuse, activists warned today. 

"This agreement could be an incentive for employers to fire the workers before completing a year in employment - therefore, the minimum wage increase should be given to everyone at the beginning of their employment," they said. 

"Because of this, the Campaign for a Decent Minimum Wage will continue to insist that the minimum wage rises fairly and properly and that the COLA mechanism should be reviewed." 

The Campaign for a Decent Minimum Wage brings together a variety of NGOs concerned with social justice issues. Members include Aditus Foundation, Alleanza Kontra l-Faqar, Caritas, Forum Bormliż, Integra Foundation, Koperattiva Kummerċ Ġust, Malta Humanist Association, Malta Microfinance, Mid-Dlam għad-Dawl, Millennium Chapel, Moviment Graffitti, Paulo Freire Institute, Peace Lab, The Critical Institute, Third World Group and Żminijietna - Voice of the Left.

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