The Malta Maritime Forum has issued a scathing press statement against the Government and the Prime Minister in particular for failing to acknowledge the issues raised in a crisis meeting held early on 7th April to explore a possible aid scheme.
The sector had been left out of the Government’s extra wage-supplement measures.
“The maritime industry is fighting a battle of survival to continue guaranteeing the livelihood of the 11,500 citizens who are engaged in this industry and who know that were it not for the resilience and sacrifice of their employers they would be registering for employment benefits.
“This is the reality of the situation in the Maltese maritime industry. The Government’s policy of ignoring the maritime industry will have deep and long-lasting effects. The people employed in this industry are owed support from the public coffers to which they have contributed, and it is not fair that employees are discriminated against,” the MMF said in a statement.
It noted with “deep regret and concern that its prudent approach and sense of responsibility, particularly at this hour, were not appreciated, let alone reciprocated by Government”.
The MMF said it is a known fact that from January to the end of April, there were four hundred blank voyages worldwide, with Malta receiving its share of this disastrous situation.
“The end result is the alarming state in which the local maritime industry finds itself in today with entities having lost from a minimum of 40 per cent to a 100 per cent total market share wipe-out.
“And this is not the end of it. We know, but unfortunately, we have no understanding from the government for this situation, that we are in this for the long haul.”
It pointed towards other maritime countries, such as South Korea, where the sector was given special attention.
“In its meeting with the Prime Minister on the 7th of April, the Forum explained that the best measure of social justice in the circumstances would be a burden-sharing formula which, in proportionate levels, government, employers, and employees carry a part of the burden.
“This proposal would have seen the employers carrying 60%, government 30%, and the employee 10% with guaranteed employment continuations for all employees.”
It is regretful and most insensitive that after three weeks since our meeting, we have not had the decency of an acknowledgment, let alone a confirmation, the MMF said.