Chamber Vice President Andrew W.J. Mamo, Managing Director at Galdes & Mamo Ltd said that the fact that 20 per cent of Malta’s labour force was made up of foreign nationals (both EU and third-country nationals) brought about new challenges as well as opportunities for the economy and country to thrive.
Addressing the Parliament of Enterprises organised by the Malta Chamber, he discussed the Labour Market 2018 Report prepared by the Chamber.
“With Malta at a crossroads in terms of its development, the Chamber felt duty-bound to proactively draft a list of policies related to the labour market, intending to provide policy-makers with the context of the issues at hand. More importantly, it serves as a blueprint on how to mitigate the threats posed by the present shortages.”
Mr Mamo said the Chamber’s proposals were primarily focused on maintaining the importance and relevance of Malta’s domestic workforce, while only resorting to foreign workers to supplement areas of domestic shortfall.
“Other proposals focus on implementing best practices observed in advanced economies especially in terms of active labour market policies, identifying skills gaps in the labour market, and proposing workable solutions to mitigate those gaps.”
The Malta Chamber presented its report to Cabinet in May, with the aim of sensitising politicians to the business community’s primary concern, providing a list of workable solutions for both the short-term and the long term, and exploring potential avenues for collaboration.
Mr Mamo said that a myriad of social and employment-related measures were exacerbating the effects of the acute shortages in labour supply. “These include measures related to maternity leave, workers with disability, public holidays falling on a weekend, the introduction of parental sick leave and the eventual transposition of the Work-Life Balance Directive into Maltese law.”
He said that while the Chamber was fully in favour of the introduction of family friendly measures, in an economic reality where labour costs were fast increasing beyond productivity levels, further labour-related impositions would continue to jeopardise the competitiveness and sustainability of businesses in a price-sensitive market.
“In conclusion, there all challenges ahead of us but we must find the right balance in the interest of the country’s competitiveness and sustainability of our labour market.”