The Nationalist Party will be meeting social partners to draft policy recommendations to address precarious work and workers' rights issues.  

On Thursday, the party said it will be holding an “intense” campaign of consultation meetings with workers, employers, unions, and other social partners to get to grips with shortcomings in Malta’s employment law regime.

 

Addressing a press conference, PN MPs Ivan Castillo, Darren Carabott, and Graziella Attard Previ said they would be focusing on the gig economy and platform workers, along with other industries that have become “modern-day slavery with the blessing of the government”.  

A gig economy is when the labour market is characterised by the prevalence of short-term contracts or freelance work as opposed to permanent jobs.

Issues related to so-called zero-hour contracts often handed out to third-country nationals living in Malta have repeatedly hit the headlines as food courier and ride-hailing apps present new challenges for policymakers.  

On Thursday, the PN MPs hit out at the Labour administration accusing it of brushing these sensitive issues under the carpet.  

Attard Previ said that while everyone has the right to work, they are also entitled to decent employment. 

Equal and minimum pay, leave and other basic rights were not being given to everyone contributing to the economy. 

Among the rules being put under the microscope by the PN are what are known as Work Regulation Orders which govern the working conditions offered in specific industries.  

Carabott said the PN is exploring the possibility of having minimum rights irrespective of the sector one works in. 

“After all, one worker’s rights and basic needs are the same as another's,” he said.  

The PN will also be discussing Malta’s industrial tribunal, which handles workplace disputes. Among other things, the party will be looking into whether the tribunal should be more autonomous and deliver judgement faster. 

On his part, Castillo pointed out that Malta was in violation of the EU’s  working conditions directive. 

The rules were meant to be transposed into Maltese law by August 1 and are meant to address insufficient protection for workers in precarious jobs.

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