Message from the President of GWU – Victor Carachi
Every year we celebrate May Day like many countries of the world to give the worker the respect he deserves. We celebrate this day also to remember the struggles that the working class had to do over the years to get to where it is today.
And we do so because we recognize that all the wealth that is created in the country is made by the work and skill of the workers in the factories, in the industries, in the offices and on all the work sites. That is why we also rightly worship Labor Day.
Fortunately this year, we are better than the past two years now that the pandemic is behind us, after months of heartbreak and a continuous threat not only on thousands of jobs but also on the economy in general.
Today it is a fact, however, that our country has recovered well and the economy has started to grow again at a rate higher than was predicted even in a moment of crisis created by the war in Ukraine. This economic growth is even being confirmed by several authoritative credit agencies that are all recognizing the economic resilience based on the political and financial establishment in our country.
More than ever, today it seems that the economy is there for the people and God forbid it was not so. Because the economy is growing at a fast rate.
In recent years our country has not only consolidated social benefits but increased them so that the Maltese today are living a better quality of life.
Budget after budget that were without taxes, pensions were increased, stipends were increased so that students could continue to advance in their studies, new green spaces were created in favor of the environment in several localities, free transport for everyone and so much and so many other benefits. All this could be done because with the work of the workers and with the wise economic and financial management of the Government our country could continue to improve the standard of living of the people.
In this context we cannot help commenting on a situation that despite all the efforts of the government and the aid it is giving to keep energy prices and wheat and cereals stable as well as the prices of various other products and services that are sold in the local market to control the cost of living, still the prices are rising, sometimes even in an exaggerated and artificial way.
Therefore, we want to see if the time has come for those food importers and other companies whose product or service is for the local market and who are making strong profits to be taxed more than they are today through what they say “Windall Tax”. This is to curb the abuses that are being made, because from the fact that the government is helping them they are taking advantage of the war situation and raising the prices of their products and services with the consequence that they are eroding from purchasing worker power and improve the competitiveness of the country.
On the other hand, as GWU we say with our face from the front that we do not agree at all with those who today are insisting and advancing arguments that the Government should stop subsidizing energy prices. We don’t agree with such arguments because it would be a fat irony that the Government, after having worked so hard to lower the electricity and water bills in 2013, is the same one that is now raising them again by letting the market drive.
The argument that neither prices rise abroad nor rise in our country as long as the national economy remains resilient as it is today and can withstand the economic shocks that come from abroad.
Therefore, the government’s policy of intervening with aid and subsidies to keep energy prices stable is in its place.
Therefore, those who promote ideas that the burdens will no longer be lifted by the government and thrown on families and businesses will be making a mistake and putting the livelihood of families and businesses in clear danger. If this happens, all the achievements that the worker has worked for with so many sacrifices over the years will be shattered.
On this day, Labor Day, we must renew our belief that we are always in solidarity with the most vulnerable, with those who can afford it the least, with pensioners, with the disadvantaged and above all with anyone who needs the help of the state to continue to have a better quality of life.
I wish all workers and their families a wonderful Labor Day.