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A conflict that could have been avoided through dialogue and diplomacy

Message from GWU President Victor Carachi on Labour Day

When we celebrate Labour Day every year on the first of May, we celebrate the union and the advances that the worker has made over the years. These are achievements that have not only improved the conditions of the working class but have also led to a better and more decent life for Maltese families.

In the last two years, however, Maltese workers have been faced with the serious threat of losing everything they have achieved over time. A pandemic threat that we had not been waiting for. A pandemic that not only had a serious impact on the global economy, but also had devastating social consequences.

Our country, like others, faced this threat over the last two years, but through it all, it was smart enough when it knew how to create a sustainable balance between public health and the economy.

This balance was crucial in ensuring that the Maltese economy not only did not go to its knees but continued to function and even grew at times. It was critical that jobs were not severely impacted as intended. Moreover, workers’ livelihoods were protected by progressive and timely measures taken by the government to support families and businesses.

It seems now that this equilibrium is leading us out of this situation and the economic recovery is going well. We see this recovery first in consumption. It is also reflected in the revival of the tourism and hospitality industry, which is becoming more intense and slowly returning to the normality in which we lived before the pandemic.

Despite this long-awaited positive development, we are now faced, like the rest of the European countries, with a new threat, a threat that comes from the senseless war triggered by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. This is a conflict that could have been avoided not by military force or bombing, but by dialogue and diplomacy.

But it seems that diplomacy has failed this time as well. It is therefore clear that this year’s World Workers’ Day will be marked by the consequences of this war: Loss of working conditions, shortages of essential goods, huge increases in energy prices and, above all, the humanitarian crisis of displaced families and refugees.

In this human tragedy, we as Maltese, more and more of us as trade unionists who believe in the principle of solidarity, must continue to support those who suffer. Because we believe that solidarity should not only be between us Maltese, but with all those who are going through difficult moments, no matter who they are and where they are.

At this moment, international solidarity is needed more than ever, and Malta has already shown its generosity towards those who need help. As a people we must continue to do so to truly practice what we believe in.

I wish all workers and their families a happy Labour Day.