A Nationalist Party government would give all frontline workers an annual wage bonus and improve the salaries of public sector workers, party leader Bernard Grech said on Monday.
The PN pledge is to give frontline workers in the health, education and disciplined forces sectors a bonus equivalent to four weeks’ basic pay.
Grech said the measure would be "fully self-financing" because the PN government would cut down on the number of persons of trust. The PN leader had first called for a 'frontliner bonus' in his parliamentary reaction to the 2022 budget.
Describing public service employees as the "backbone" of the public administration, he said the PN would also be revising and improving payscales of all such employees.
He implied that a Nationalist government would make public sector reform subject to a ministerial portfolio.
Retirement bonus for public sector workers
Grech also said that the PN would introduce a tax-free grant equivalent to one year’s pay for retiring government workers.
The bonus would be paid when public workers reach retirement age, in recognition of the work and dedication of the employee. He said it will also attract people to start a career in the public service.
To incentivise efficiency in public service, a PN government would introduce a "performance bonus system" that rewards workers who are especially productive, he said.
Grech said a PN government will strengthen family-friendly measures by implementing telework and remote working within the first six months of the new legislature.
There would be a minimum of one day remote working and a maximum of four days, under the proposal. Gozitan workers would be allowed to have a minimum of two days teleworking.
Public service workers would also be entitled to more days of sick leave to take care of their children or elderly relatives who live with them or to travel abroad with them for treatment.
The PN also promised special leave for physical activity to promote exercise and mental health.
How much does all this cost?
During Monday's press conference, journalists asked Grech how much the PN's various proposals and electoral campaign costs.
Grech acknowledged that a number of PN proposals would cost money to implement, though he described those expenses as "investments".
"I am not scared to carry out important reforms, as those reforms will evolve into large investments and shift the government salary scales for better pay for workers," he said.
The PN leader did not enter into the specifics of how much the various proposals would cost, saying instead that the PN would be releasing costings of its proposals "in the coming hours, in the coming days."
Times of Malta asked Grech for a full breakdown of the party's spending for the electoral campaign, after it reported that both major political parties are spending €240,000 on internet ads per week.
Grech argued that the Labour Party was not reporting all of its spending, saying the party has more billboards and adverts than the Nationalist Party does.
“When you look at the billboards, who has more? When you look at adverts on television and in newspapers, who has more? Labour.”
“Without a doubt, I can say that the Labour Party is spending much more online, than what is being reported. But now we are used to this, Robert Abela has the power, has the Broadcasting Authority, and the money of the people.”
He said all the costs incurred by the PN during the electoral campaign will be collected and reported in due course.
The best survey will be concluded on Saturday
Two polls released this weekend, one commissioned by Times of Malta and the other by Malta Today, found that the PL is set to win the election by well over 20,000 votes.
When asked if Grech will remain as leader of the party after the party’s loss, Grech said the best survey will be concluded on Saturday, when people will cast their votes.
“That's the only survey that counts. Nobody calls you for that survey. No one knows who you are, or how you have voted. During that survey, on Saturday, you will be in a room on your own and on that paper, you can be free to express yourself and not be scared,” he said.
“On Saturday, with the vote you have the power in your hands, instead of giving him [Robert Abela] more power. And as I promised before, after Saturday, I will remain with you, for Malta.”