During the first meeting of 2022, the social partners were presented with a work programme that the Malta Council for Economic and Social Development (MCESD) has for this year.
Minister within the Office of the Prime Minister Carmelo Abela, responsible for social dialogue in our country, acknowledged the important work carried out during the year 2021 by the MCESD. The Minister pointed out that “the task of the MCESD is to prepare ourselves for tomorrow and not just talk about challenges such as the challenge of the pandemic." The Minister said that during this year we must continue to build on the good we have already achieved, discussing, and facing new challenges.
Minister Carmelo Abela remarked that, “despite the negative effects that the pandemic has had in our country, as well as in other countries, we managed to strengthen the social dialogue in our country." To this end, the Minister referred to the financial packages that have been agreed within the MCESD, as well as the measures that have been discussed to save thousands of businesses and jobs in our country.
The MCESD was reinforced during the year 2021. This was also done through the direct access given to social partners to have experts in the particular field of research being carried out, in the working groups that were designed to discuss important issues for our country.
The Minister said that, “the improvement of this forum and discussion is not a one time instance, but this is an ongoing process." Therefore, during this year we are going to have a number of working groups, through which important topics for our country will continue to be discussed.
Minister Abela emphasised that during this year the impact of inflation on vulnerable people will be studied, as announced in this year's budget, and the way how we work together with new forms of employment; including remote working. He also said that there are other forums, such as the Employment Relations Board and the Low Wage Commission that there will be other discussions according to the remit they have.
In his conclusions, the Minister spoke about how by working together, we will continue to strengthen social dialogue in our country, which will contribute to a sustainable future and prepare us for the future, in a serious and structured manner.
MCESD Chairman, Mr James Pearsall said: “we have significant challenges ahead of us, while we must continue to focus on priority issues for our country."