General Election 2008: Memorandum to Political Parties

Press Release: 22/02/08
Stqarrija Stampa: 22/02/08
(Verzjonijiet bl-Ingliz u bil-Malti)



Zminijietna - Voice of the Left
14/8 Vincenti Buildings, Strait Street, Valletta VLT1432, Malta

Tel. / Fax: +00356 21223537

General Election 2008: Memorandum to Political Parties

Zminijietna – Voice of the Left is presenting the following proposals to the political parties in view of the 2008 General Election. Zminijietna’s proposals are built on the principles of equality, social justice and sustainability. These are transitional proposals than can help build a better society.

Economy:  A new Government should urgently introduce measures to reduce the impact of economic burdens which are being felt in Maltese society due to neo-liberal economic policy, privatisation and liberalisation. The Government’s economic policy should bring about growth, stability and equality. Zminijietna is in favour of wealth redistribution, progressive taxation, and policies which defend public services. Such policies should include public investment, and where required, nationalisation of sectors of strategic importance. We also believe in policies which encourage workers cooperatives.
Standard of living:
Policies are required through which workers’ income is increased, through fiscal policy and through wage increases (including the minimum wage and work on an hourly basis).

Work: Malta requires legislation and proper enforcement to guarantee the rights and conditions of various categories of workers. Part-time workers, workers on contract, casual workers and workers who are forced to declare their status as self-employed should benefit from the same rights as full-timers on a pro-rata basis. The same should be said regarding private sector workers when compared to public sector workers.
Industrial democracy is also required, so that workers would enjoy rights such as the faculty to join a trade union and to engage in industrial action. The industrial tribunal should be widened in scope, thus also protecting the rights of all public sector workers.
The State should provide proper training facilities for different categories of workers in sectors which are facing problems. Such training should improve workers' skills and respect their dignity, and not impose practices which are alien to workers' experiences. Proper investment in health and safety measures is also required.

Families: Malta requires progressive and inclusive social policy which caters for today’s realities of different forms of families. A process should be initiated whereby divorce is introduced in a responsible manner. Groups different from traditional families should have legal rights as well as obligations towards those with whom they live. Above all, the family – whatever its form – should be protected from economic and social burdens which result from a capitalist society. This is the best way to protect the family, beyond rhetoric.
Housing. Malta requires politics which stop property speculation and which result in more affordable prices. This requires – subsidies on loans for first-time buyers and more affordable social housing provided by the state. Property and land speculation should be confronted. We oppose more liberalisation in the housing sector, as this will result in problems and serious difficulties for thousands of families. 

Environment: A new Government should adopt sustainable environmental policies which defends the common good whilst not resulting in more burdens on workers in the form of regressive taxes, unjust surcharges and other measures which increase inequality. Therefore, the provision of energy should remain centrally-planned and state-owned, and should encourage clean, sustainable and affordable methods. Investment in public transport should increase so as to make it more accessible, cheaper and more efficient. The supply of land which permits ODZ development should be revised and reduced. 

Welfare State :. The gains made by the Maltese welfare state should be protected and strengthened, and the welfare state should emphasize equality, social justice, efficiency and sustainability through a universalist model. The welfare state should not only be based on cash benefits – even though these are very important. It should also incorporate education, training, guidance, family-friendly work practices, investment in human resources and encouragement of initiative. The Maltese welfare state also requires investment in accessible childcare centres and flexible working hours as a choice for workers, as these enhance better balance between employment and family. State pensions should be guaranteed and should be equal for everyone by being based on citizenship rather than on previous income. Malta’s national health service policies should not result in a divide between those who can afford private health services and those who do not afford such services. Malta requires politics in favour of equality and against discrimination. Our country should not adopt a neo-liberal welfare system based on workfare and means tests.
Education: Investment in education for the most vulnerable groups should increase. Above all, Malta requires a more comprehensive and life-long educational system, to the contrary of the current system which is classist, elitist and based on streaming, thus resulting in many young people – especially from the working class- who end up without qualifications. Malta also requires policies in favour of community involvement in socio-educational activities, thus increasing social capital. 

Conclusion : Zminijietna – Voice of the Left appeals for politics which are based on full participation of civil society, where, amongst others, workers’ unions, NGOs, constituted bodies, local councils and academics have an important role in national fora.

Michael Briguglio
Ufficjal Relazzjonijiet Pubblici
Zminijietna - Lehen ix-Xellug
9989 4634

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