Workers’ Day – after Covid-19, let’s build an economy based on justice |  Moviment Graffitti Malta.
01/05/2020

Workers’ Day – after Covid-19, let’s build an economy based on justice

This Workers’ Day, Moviment Graffitti wants to express its gratitude towards all the workers currently working around the clock to provide each one of us with essential services during the Covid-19 crisis, and to express its full solidarity with all those workers who are currently going through a period of uncertainty or facing precariousness and exploitation. On Workers’ Day we ought to remember how the progress and milestones achieved thanks to workers’ efforts and struggles over the years – such as free healthcare for all and social security – form the basis of our well-being.


The current crisis has made it clear to all that the workers with the lowest salaries – like health workers, cleaning personnel, waste collectors, drivers and persons involved in food distribution – are in fact those workers without whom we cannot manage. On the other hand, figures show that over the past twenty-five years, workers in Malta have seen their share of the economy greatly reduced (workers’ earnings as a percentage of GVA – data retrieved from the Central Bank, 2018), with many salaries remaining in the low mark despite the economy’s rapid growth. We have now seen how as soon as the first hints of a crisis were looming on the horizon, some of the country’s biggest companies – particularly those that in recent years have made millions in profit – threatened to lay off workers. Some workers received nothing more than an SMS message on their mobile phones informing them they have been made redundant, from the same companies that for years had used them to amass their wealth.


With this in mind, it is neither possible nor desirable to “go back to normal” once the Covid-19 crisis is over, that is to go back to the unjust economy that was our normal. This is not possible because the effects of Covid-19 will be felt for many years to come, and this will inevitably hinder economic growth. Nor is it desirable, however, because the consequences of a system based solely on economic growth are exploitation, massive inequalities, and environmental degradation.


We need to start considering a different economic system where wealth is shared more equitably and one where workers and quality of life are the central focus. We need an economy based on higher wages and better working conditions for all; higher taxes for those who earn a lot and possess many assets; and more democracy in the economic sphere, with workers having a say in decisions made in their workplaces.


We can start building a more just economy immediately by ensuring that all Covid-19-related aid given to large companies comes with certain conditions, such as: that the company does not lay off any workers; that employees are given shares in the company; and that the company contributes to social welfare by moving some of its non-productive assets - such as immovable property acquired solely for speculative purposes - under public ownership.


May Day reminds us that it was workers all over the globe who brought about improvements in our quality of life when, thanks to their struggles, they achieved better working conditions, higher salaries, and social services. The Covid-19 crisis should alert us to the fact that we need to carry on the fight for a just economy where workers are given a more deserving share of the wealth they create through their labour.

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Stqarrija Stampa 01/05/2020


Jum il-Ħaddiem – wara l-Covid-19, ejja nibnu ekonomija ġusta


Fl-okkażjoni ta’ Jum il-Ħaddiem, il-Moviment Graffitti jixtieq jirringrazzja lill-ħaddiema kollha li bħalissa qed jaħdmu bla waqfien sabiex jiżguraw is-servizzi essenzjali waqt il-kriżi tal-Covid-19, filwaqt li jesprimi s-solidarjetà sħiħa tiegħu ma’ dawk il-ħaddiema li għaddejjin minn inċertezzi, prekarjat u sfruttament. Jum il-Ħaddiem għandu jfakkarna kemm il-kisbiet li ġabu l-ġlidiet tal-ħaddiema matul is-snin - bħal sistema tas-saħħa b’xejn għal kulħadd u s-sigurtà soċjali - huma l-bażi tal-benesseri tagħna.


Din il-kriżi wriet li l-ħaddiema bl-inqas pagi - bħal dawk fis-setturi tas-saħħa, tat-tindif u l-iskart, tas-sewqan u tad-distribuzzjoni tal-ikel – huma fil-fatt il-ħaddiema li ma nistgħux ngħaddu mingħajrhom. Min-naħa l-oħra, il-figuri juru li matul dawn l-aħħar ħamsa u għoxrin sena l-ħaddiema f’Malta naqsilhom bil-kbir is-sehem li jieħdu mill-ekonomija (ħlas tal-ħaddiema bħala % tal-GVA – data meħuda mill-Bank Ċentrali, 2018), fejn ħafna pagi baqgħu baxxi minkejja li l-ekonomija kibret b’mod mgħaġġel. Issa rajna kif mal-ewwel sinjali ta’ kriżi, uħud mill-ikbar kumpaniji fil-pajjiż - dawk li għamlu miljuni fi qligħ matul dawn l-aħħar snin - heddew li jkeċċu l-ħaddiema. Kien hemm ħaddiema li ġew imkeċċija b’sempliċiment messaġġ fuq il-mobile mill-istess kumpaniji li għal snin twal użawhom biex isiru sinjuri.


Għalhekk, la huwa possibbli u lanqas mhuwa mixtieq li wara l-kriżi tal-Covid-19 immorru lura “għan-normal”, ġifieri għall-ekonomija inġusta li kellna qabel. Dan mhux se jkun possibbli għaliex il-Covid-19 se jkollu impatt fit-tul ħafna li inevitabbilment se jxekkel it-tkabbir ekonomiku. Iżda lanqas mhuwa mixtieq għaliex sistema bbażata biss fuq it-tkabbir ekonomiku twassal għal sfruttament, inugwaljanzi kbar u qerda ambjentali.


Hemm bżonn nibdew naħsbu dwar sistema ekonomika differenti fejn il-ġid jitqassam aħjar u li jkollha fiċ-ċentru tagħha l-ħaddiema u l-kwalità tal-ħajja tagħna. Neħtieġu ekonomija bbażata fuq pagi ogħla u kundizzjonijiet tax-xogħol tajbin għal kulħadd; taxxi ogħla fuq min jagħmel ħafna qligħ u għandu ħafna assi; u demokrazija fl-isfera ekonomika fejn il-ħaddiema jkollhom sehem fid-deċiżjonijiet li jittieħdu fil-postijiet tax-xogħol tagħhom.


Il-bini ta’ ekonomija aktar ġusta jista’ jibda minnufih billi kull għajnuna marbuta mal-Covid-19 lill-kumpaniji l-kbar tingħata b’ċertu kundizzjonijiet, bħal pereżempju: li l-kumpanija ma tkeċċi lil ebda ħaddiem; li l-ħaddiema jingħataw ishma fil-kumpanija; u li l-kumpanija tikkontribwixxi għall-benesseri tas-soċjetà billi ċertu assi mhux produttivi li għandha - bħal propjetà immobbli li tkun akkwistat biss għal fini ta’ spekulazzjoni - isiru pubbliċi.


L-1 ta’ Mejju jfakkarna li kienu l-ħaddiema madwar id-dinja, bil-ġlidiet tagħhom, li ġabu titjib fil-kwalità tal-ħajja tagħna meta kisbu kundizzjonijiet tax-xogħol aħjar, pagi ogħla u servizzi soċjali. Il-kriżi tal-Covid-19 għandha tiftħilna għajnejna għall-fatt li hemm bżonn inkomplu nissieltu għal ekonomija ġusta fejn il-ħaddiema jingħataw is-sehem li jistħoqqilhom mill-ġid li joħolqu b‘xogħolhom.