Friday, 9 October 2015

Press Release: Budget 2016 should address Social Inequality - Żminijietna

English/Maltese Version


Press Release: Budget 2016 should address Social Inequality - Żminijietna

Żminijietna - Voice of the Left appealed to the Government to tackle social inequality in the upcoming budget by strengthening social measures and moving away from neo-liberal policy which increases inequality.


"Official statistics show that Malta is experiencing increased economic growth, but is also increasing an increase in number of people at risk-of-poverty. Hence, an improved economic situation does not necessarily translate in more social equality".


"We therefore urge the Government to increase measures that tackle poverty, inequality and precariousness. These include an increase in the minimum wage; progressive legislation against precarious employment; and upward revisions in social benefits to help those in need".


"We agree with active policies which encourage people to seek employment, but these should not be at the expense of universal welfare benefits, which often protect people from falling into poverty".


"We also appeal to the Government to keep investing in progressive measures such as universally accessible childcare services - which should also be available for free for parents not in employment, pre and after school services for children, lifelong training programmes and more universal educational services".


"As regards fiscal policy, we appeal to the Government to introduce radical measures, such as tax on vacant properties (third property onwards) and the polluters pay principle. We also expect the Government to announce policies which ensure that all pensioners have a decent income".


"With regards to Health, Żminijietna urges the Government to invest more; to strengthen the primary health care system; an increase in staff and services provided in the community, hospitals and clinics".


Sunday, 4 October 2015

Public Transport: The signed agreement is in violation of European laws on health and safety.

Press Release:

Public Transport: The signed agreement is in violation of European laws on health and safety.

Whilst Żminijietna – Voice of the Left is satisfied that an agreement between public transport workers and ALESA has been reached, it asks the Government to further consider the importance of working conditions.

Żminijietna said that "the agreement reached between the Government and the Spanish company Autobuses de Leon/ALESA has completely disregarded various European legislation regulating bus drivers' working conditions. In fact, EU Regulation (EC) 561/2006, which deals specifically with bus drivers, stipulates that they should have a minimum break of 45 minutes - a 15 minute break after the first four and a half hours of driving, and a further half an hour break after the second such period."

"At heart, this is an issue of health and safety for both the drivers concerned as well as their passengers. It should thus have been included in the package negotiated between the Government and the company."


Monday, 28 September 2015

Press Release: Compulsory sex education should be a priority

Żminijietna – Voice of the Left supports the European Parliament Resolution on the report, Empowering Girls through Education in the EU. This is a major step towards gender equality.


The report stresses that education is an important tool for enabling women to participate fully in society. The report stresses that poverty is the biggest obstacle preventing girls from education and gender equality. Also that those girls who are not allowed to go to school are more exposed to domestic violence.


Further on, the report encourages member states to promote gender equality in their comprehensive sex and relationship programs and to consider making these programs compulsory in their school curricula for all primary and secondary school children and training teachers. The report also calls on the Commission to support the inclusion of objective information on LGBTi issues in school curricula.      


Żminjietna said that “compulsory sex education will contribute to public health priorities such as reducing unplanned pregnancies and prevention and early treatment of sexually transmitted infections. Given the fact, that teenage pregnancies rates in Malta have been growing, the recommendations in the report are a step forward towards addressing this problem.




Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Żminijietna supports the new maternity leave trust fund/Żminijietna tappoġġja t-twaqqif ta’ fond għall-lif tal-maternita.

Press Release: 
Żminijietna supports the new maternity leave trust fund

Żminijietna – Voice of the Left agrees with the institution of a ‘Maternity Leave Trust Fund’, as this would strengthen the sustainability of public finances, and contribute to gender equality at the workplace.

It is Żminijietna's belief that the separation of the gender of one's employees and the obligation to contribute to Maternity Leave is positive, helping to safeguard the provision of such leave as well as eliminating a disincentive to the employment of women. 

"The skeptical position taken by the Malta Employers' Association was to be expected in a politico-economic climate where the cutting of labour costs and the elimination of the social welfare safety net is part of a socially destructive neo-liberal agenda". 

Żminijietna has always believed that more progressive policies should form part of Malta’s economic and social policies, and perhaps this Fund is a hint of change to come.”

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Żminijietna supports the introduction of a Public Domain Bill/Żminijietna tappoġġja l-introduzzjoni ta’ liġi li tħares żoni u postijiet pubbliċi

Press Release: Żminijietna supports the introduction of a Public Domain Bill.

Żminijietna – Voice of the Left welcomes the proposal brought forward by the Nationalist Party for the introduction in Malta’s Law of a Public Domain Bill.

Żminijietna said that “such proposal, if backed by Parliament, will toughen protection of sites of natural and historical importance against speculation, inappropriate use and neglect”.

“The aim of this proposal should be to strengthen protection, transparency and sustainability in the use of public building and land. A more open public consultation with different sectors of society and the public in general should be the core of this proposal”.

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Zminijietna calls for decent working conditions/Żminijietna tappella għall-kundizzjonijiet diċenti tax-xogħol

Press Release: Zminijietna calls for decent working conditions

“Reforms in Malta Public Transport and Malta International Airport should not lead to precarious conditions and reduction in wages.  Lowering of payment/hourly rate for services carried out by part-time loaders at Air Malta is condemnable. These workers are already experiencing job insecurity and stress”, stated Żminijietna – Voice of the Left.

“With regards to Public Transport, Żminijietna urges Malta Transport Authority to make sure that all public transport workers are paid a decent wage. The service should not be operated by workers with inferior working conditions. Żminijietna also calls upon the workers to stop this non-sense behaviour and work towards solidarity.

Thursday, 14 May 2015

New University welcomed, but alternative site required/Universita ġdida mfaħħra, imma teħtieġ sit alternattiv

Zminijietna Voice of the Left welcomed the agreement between the Government of Malta and Jordanian investor for the setting up of a branch of the American De Paul University in Malta, but appealed for another site to be found for the development.

"The setting up of the De Paul University is a welcome investment which can have a positive economic and educational contribution. It can also provide new opportunities for students and workers in the field. We support the proposal to have Malta act as an educational hub".

"On the other hand we appeal to the Government to consider other sites for the development of the University, preferably not in an ODZ area. This requires comprehensive and holistic studies and impact assessments which take into consideration educational, economic, social, environmental, traffic and architectural concerns, amongst others".

Saturday, 9 May 2015

The Problem of Precariousness should be a National Concern

Żminijietna – Voice of the Left states that Worker’s Day should be the day against precariousness. Many workers in Malta are employed under inferior work conditions, low wages, lack of training and job security.
 
The leftist organisation Żminijietna deems positive the Government’s efforts to address precariousness, but it insists for the introduction of a legislation that defines precariouness.
In fact Żminijietna disagrees with the Malta Employers Association defenition of precarious jobs that focus more on the abuse, rather than the quality of employment.  
 
“It is of concern the number of mostly foreign workers who are being employed under the temprarily agency worker scheme. These workers are facing disriminatory conditions with relation to wages, inferior conditions of work, and precariousness due to the fact that if they complain they end up being sent back home, without any rights”.  
 
Therefore, Żminijietna – Voice of the Left appeals to the Government to address precariousness in a serious way. Till now it seems that there is a lack of will. Many workers in the cleaning, security, care and domestic sectors are still being employed under precarious job contracts and conditions.

Friday, 1 May 2015

Żminijietna calls for decent jobs.


English/ Maltese Version.

Press Release: Żminijietna calls for decent jobs.

Żminijietna – Voice of the Left welcomes the decision taken by the government to initiate talks with Panta Lesco Group following the possibility that it would be laying-off about 70 workers. 

“The Government, together with union representatives should ensure that these workers find alternative employment with decent conditions of work and that re-training is provided if required. Decent Work is a globally accepted goal and an instrument for improving the lives of people”.

“With regards to their families and the financial situation, the government should ensure that these workers are given all the support if necessary and that the employer respects it's full obligations with respect to redundancy rights”.

Saturday, 18 April 2015

STOP TTIP! - Local NGOs join European platform of over 400 NGOs in call for action against secret trade negotiations between the EU and the USA

On the occasion of the global day of action against TTIP, on the 18th April, a number of local NGO's, under the umbrella Social Europe - Front Against TTIP (Malta), that was formed in Malta last year, are calling upon all policy makers in both the public and the private sectors to unite to secure the interests of the local economy, which is based almost exclusively on the productivity of small and medium enterprises (SME's), as well as its environmental and social fabric, by ensuring that all trade negotiations being carried out between the EU and the USA are open and fully transparent, and that no stone will be left unturned to ensure that the fundamental principles of governance, transparency and environmental and social regulations upon which so much of the EU is built, are secured and maintained.

The Front said that it forms part of an alliance of over 400 civil society organisations that launched a European Citizens Initiative against the free trade and investment agreements TTIP (between the EU and the US) and CETA (between the EU and Canada). These are calling on the European Commission to recommend to the EU Council of Ministers to repeal the European Union’s negotiating mandate for the Transatlantic Trade Investor Partnership (TTIP) and to halt the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).

The coalition refuses to accept that rules with far-reaching consequences for more than 500 million citizens in Europe are made behind closed doors. This is unacceptable and in blatant breach of fundamental European principles. TTIP and CETA primarily serve the interests of large multinational corporations at the huge expense of consumer protection, social standards, environmental regulations and food safety. They also threaten the fabric of SME's, by creating an unlevel playing field in the commercial sector which is weighted heavily in favour of multinational corporations.

The planned Investor state dispute settlement (ISDS), it continued, constitutes a very serious threat to democracy and the rule of law for the simple reason that it would make these multi nationals more powerful than the governments of sovereign states, allowing them to enforce changes in environmental and social legislation, and even to sue governments for hundreds of millions of Euros in damages on claims that such legislation may have affected the company's potential for profits. Such a treaty would not only put multinational corporate profits over people and SME's, but also over their democratically elected governments.

The European Citizens Initiative petition has already been signed by over 1.6 million European throughout Europe. The front is calling upon the public to likewise give its support by signing the petition at https://stop-ttip.org/. More information on the campaign can be obtained at https://www.globaltradeday.org/ and https://www.facebook.com/eci.ttip

Social Europe - Front Against TTIP (Malta) consists of the NGO's Żminijietna - Voice of the Left; Anti-Poverty Alliance; Moviment Graffitti; Association of Federative Socialists; GWU Youth, Friends of the Earth Malta; Partit Komunista Malti; Garden of Knowledge (Malta); ADZ - Green Youth; Malta Organic Agricuture Movement; Greenhouse; Gaia Foundation; Alternattiva Demokratika -The Green Party

Rodolfo Ragonesi
obo Social Europe - Front Against TTIP (Malta)

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Press Release: Zminijietna against Corporatisation of National Healthcare

As a result of recent overtures made by the government about increases in the opening of public healthcare to the private sector, Zminijietna – Voice of the Left is highly concerned by the direction that national strategy in the health sector is taking, and believes that the government should act to prevent any more corporatisation of healthcare on the Islands.

In light of this, Zminijietna has stated that "any new involvement of the private sector in healthcare will lead to an increasing corporatisation of the Maltese health sector, to the detriment of the public, healthcare workers, and the universal availability of State health care services."

“The use of a public-private partnership model will result in the healthcare industry becoming an industry of simple profit and loss, reducing the quality of service given and its overall sustainability.”

“Various studies have shown that market directed policies do not necessarily reduce costs in, or improve, healthcare services, and such policies in the United Kingdom have led to an overall neglect of patient well-being. The changes being proposed are more in line with the motivations of politically influential minority interests and strategists, following the increasingly right-wing and neo-liberal direction being taken by the European Union, than they are with a genuine concern for the welfare of patients,” concluded Zminijietna – Voice of the Left.


21st March 2015

Monday, 9 March 2015

International Women's Day: Reaching Out to all Women in Society




According to Żminijietna – Voice of the Left, “women have come a long way, and International Women's Day is an opportunity to evaluate the achievements, rights, and economic and political participation of women in contemporary society. Such an occasion should also serve to encourage initiatives intended to promote these to aim to reach more women from all walks of life.”

On this occasion, Żminijietna also said that “women should continue aiming towards an equal society free from gender discrimination, better working conditions, and improvements in the reach and scope of social security rights, with a greater outreach in particular to those women who form part of minorities - such as single mothers, immigrants and widowers.”

“In recent years, women have become more present in the labour market and more financially independent. However, when it comes to employment, women are more likely to take up part -time employment - or interrupt their careers altogether - due to domestic matters such as sick parents. In addition, many are also being subjected to precarious employment conditions."

Żminijietna fully supports the several measures taken by Government to increase the family-friendliness of policy, which were responsible in part for the positive consequence of greater female participation in the labour market. Żminijietna would like to see such family-friendly measures incentivised in the private sector.  

Press Release 8/3/15

Minimum wage should increase



Żminijietna – Voice of the Left supports the declaration of members of the Nationalist party that any increase in indirect taxation contributes to a drop in minimum wage earners’ revenue.
 
“The same concern was raised by Caritas in 2012, in its report entitled ‘A Minimum Budget for a Decent Living'. Żminijietna appeals to the Government and the Opposition Party in Parliament to support Caritas's proposal for an increase in the national minimum wage”.
 
“Recent European Statistics also reveal that, in Malta, the minimum wage income is relatively low in proportion to the threshold most commonly used in Europe - that of 60 % of the median wage. In Malta it is still at 53%," stated Żminijietna – Voice of the Left. 

Press Release 6/3/15

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

MEPs must protect public from EU-US trade deal threat

Social Europe - Front Against TTIP (Malta)

https://www.facebook.com/groups/FrontAgainstTTIPMalta/

Press Release 3/3/15

MEPs must protect public from EU-US trade deal threat

In an open letter sent to MEPs today 375 organisations - including trade unions, consumer, environmental, and civil rights organisations - from 25 EU countries, warn that TTIP could constrain democratic decision-making by strengthening the influence of big business and undermining public services, the protection of public health, the environment, food and workers' rights.

Read more at:


Social Europe - Front Against TTIP (Malta) is one of the signatories.

In turn, the Front is made up of: 
Żminijietna - Voice of the Left; Anti-Poverty Alliance; Moviment Graffitti; Association of Federative Socialists; GWU Youth, Friends of the Earth Malta; Partit Komunista Malti; Garden of Knowledge (Malta); ADZ - Green Youth; Malta Organic Agricuture Movement; Greenhouse; Gaia Foundation; Alternattiva Demokratika -The Green Party

Monday, 23 February 2015

Ghadira Bay development runs contrary to Blue Flag beach concept




 Zminijietna – Voice of the Left criticised the decision taken by MEPA to allow a private operator to construct a concrete platform on the sandy beach in Għadira.

“The decision to pour concrete on Għadira Bay is unacceptable. Alternative methods that protect ecological sustainability should have been applied”, stated Żminijietna.

“This decision runs contrary to the concept of the Blue Flag beaches. The Blue Flag awards works towards sustainable development of beaches through strict criteria dealing with water quality, environmental education and information, environmental management, and safety and other services”.

"We urge the Minister in charge of the Environment to take the necessary measures to remove the concrete platform"

Press Release 22.2.15

Monday, 16 February 2015

Amnesty on illegal development “unacceptable” – NGOs

by Caroline Muscat

http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20150210/local/amnesty-on-illegal-development-unacceptable-ngos.555558


The planning authority has finally relinquished all pretence of being a regulator and exposed its real role as facilitator for development, environmental organisations said today, slamming the Authority’s proposed amnesty on works done without permits.
Environmentalists united against Mepa’s proposal to sanction illegal developments saying it was “unacceptable” and sent out a message that “abuse pays off”.
Calling Mepa’s latest proposal “the mother of all building amnesties”, they said it was proof of the Authority’s incompetence and put into question the very reason for its existence, they said.
The Sunday Times of Malta revealed earlier this month that Mepa was in the final stages of proposing an amnesty to sanction long-standing illegal developments.
The scheme is meant to wipe out a substantial chunk of the planning authority’s pending enforcement cases, which number about 10,000, and to rake in more than €20 million.
The organisations pointed out amnesties held in 2012 and 2013 already dealt with the abuse that could reasonably be absolved.  They drew attention to the contradictory situation that the Authority’s chairman, Vince Cassar, now finds himself in.
At the time of the last amnesty, when Mr Cassar was president of the Chamber of Architects, he had lambasted the proposal saying those who broke the law should not end up on an even footing with those who had not adhered to it.
“How can he now endorse a more extreme amnesty?” asked FAA spokeswoman Astrid Vella.
“Such amnesties foster a culture of abuse... We have seen this from past experience in Malta, and also from the Italian experience which saw an increase of 30 per cent of building abuse when the last amnesty was announced,” she added.
The environmental organisations said they had to rely on a media report to discover what was going on since no details had been made available to them.
The fact that Mepa CEO Johann Buttigieg had said he would not give further detail because the proposals had not yet been approved by the Board and Parliament showed the Authority no longer even pretended to respect laws on consultation, the NGOs said.
The NGOs demanded that before proceeding with its proposed amnesty, Mepa publish reports justifying its decision, as well as studies on the environmental impact of existing illegal development.  They also insisted that illegal buildings Outside Development Zones and the coast be immediately eliminated from any consideration.
The proposed scheme would apply to all infringements that took place before 2013 and those in ODZ that took place before the full establishment of the planning authority in 1994.
Applicants that could be considered for such an amnesty would be expected to pay a one-time fee that is heftier than current sanctioning charges. Yet the environmental organisations argued that any monetary gain from such an amnesty could not be the basis for such a decision.
Rambler Association President Lino Bugeja pointed out the repercussions of this amnesty would have a lasting impact, unlike other amnesties already granted, such as those on tax payments and electricity theft.
The NGOs insisted government could not continue to make rules and then complain they can’t be enforced. Edward Mallia said there was a pattern emerging where law enforcement authorities were just “pandering to wrongdoers”, an attitude that must stop.
Something went wrong with the way Mepa was functioning along the years, the NGOs pointed out. That problem must be addressed before an amnesty could be proposed.
“This is not going to solve Mepa’s problems nor will it solve illegalities,” they said.
The NGOs present today were Friends of the Earth (Malta), Flimkien Ghal Ambjent Ahjar, Din l-Art Helwa, Ramblers Association, Nature Trust, Noise Abatement Society and Zminijietna. They were joined by water expert Marco Cremona, environmental expert Alfred Baldacchino, and deputy chairman of the Green Party Carmel Cacopardo.

Monday, 9 February 2015

Childcarers: Żminijietna appeals for decent conditions of employment.




Żminijietna – Voice of the Left stressed that “although Government's provision for universal childcare services was a big step forward, conditions of employment need to improve and further regulation is needed".

“Żminijietna is highly concerned with the inferior conditions of employment that the workers in this sector find themselves in. Childcarers are experiencing low wages and precariousness in both the public and the private sector, and this is leading to a high turnover of workers"

"Government should ensure that wages in both the public and private sectors increase, so as to reflect the high level of responsibility that childcarers have in the education of children in crucial years of their personal development".

"Unionisation of childcarers should also be ensured without delay. Żminijietna supports MUT in its struggle to organize this sector and to improve the conditions of work. Workers should be allowed to choose full-time employment".  

Press Release 9/2/15