GWU emphasises that union membership means better wages and conditions.
The employee’s salary is important for his livelihood and that of his family. It determines the standard of living, depending on how high it is. Given the ever increasing prices due to various factors, the most obvious and recent of which is the war in Ukraine, the worker must analyse local wages to understand whether this wage meets the needs of these families.
In this context, it was found that in 2021, 29,036 Maltese workers (17%) earned less than €10,000, which was slightly more than the national minimum wage at the time, while those earning up to €15,000 were slightly more than 50,000 workers. This is almost 30 percent of the total number of Maltese workers, which was 174,238 that year. The General Secretary of the General Workers’ Union (GWU), Josef Bugeja, pointed out that it is necessary to see in which sectors jobs with low wages are offered, and recalled the importance of membership in a trade union. This is because a union is the “natural home” of workers, where they know that membership means better wages and working conditions.
A little more than the national minimum wage…
Statistics on the salaries of Maltese workers in 2021 were presented by the Minister of Finance and Labour, Clyde Caruana, in response to a question from the opposition MP, Ivan Castillo, in Parliament. The question specifically asked for the number of Maltese workers earning between €0 and €10,000, €10,000 and €15,000, €15,000 and €20,000, €20,000 and €25,000, €25,000 and €30,000, €30,000 and €35,000, €35,000 and €45,000, €45,000 and €60,000, €60,000 and €90,000 and more than €90,000.
It is not the first time we hear that there is competition with foreigners because they work at low wages. However, we cannot jump to the conclusion that Maltese are either better paid or do not work at the same wage level as foreigners.
This is clearly seen in 2021, when Maltese workers earn the most in the wage range between €0 and €10,000, with a total of 29,036 workers. We see that this range of workers had a salary slightly higher than the national minimum wage of the mentioned year, which is one of the lowest in the EU Member States. We are talking about one year, and this is a big difference – nine times as high – for 2,852 Maltese workers who received a salary of more than 90,000 euros per year in the same year.
The second highest range of income from employment in 2021 was for 26,452 workers with 15,001to 20,000 euros. This is also relatively low compared to other countries in the European bloc. In third place are 23,480 Maltese workers who earned between €20,000 and €25,000 in the aforementioned year.
The lowest number of workers with a high salary were, as said, those with more than €90,000, but the data showed that for those considering an income from a good to very good job – that is, between €35,000 and €90,000 a year – a total of 35,367 workers benefited from such income in 2021. These were 18,252 employees with incomes between €35,000 and €45,000; 11,124 had salaries between €45,000 and €60,000; and another 5,991 employees earned between €60,000 and €90,000.
In the other categories, apart from those we have already mentioned, we see that 20,445 Maltese workers in 2021 had an income between €25,000 and €30,000; another 15,012 between €30,000 and €35,000; while another 18,252 earned between €35,000 and €45,000 salary.