Kienet aħbar ħażina dik li f’Malta, id-dħul tan-nisa mill-impjieg imqabbel ma’ dak tal-irġiel hu fost l-aktar baxxi fl-Ewropa, u li fl-aħħar snin, kompla jitbaxxa.
La l-ekonomija qed tirranka u mhux qed jinstabu biżżejjed ħaddiema biex jimlew l-impjiegi li qed jinħolqu, wieħed kien jistenna li d-dħul medju kemm tan-nisa u tal-irġiel jiżdiedu, u li dan iressaq id-dħul tan-nisa eqreb tal-irġiel.
Jeħtieġ niflu sewir-raġunijiet li qed iwasslu għal dawn ir-riżultati li jinħassu kontra r-raġuni.
Il-problema x’aktarx qed tkun li s-suq tax-xogħol f’Malta tant infaqa’ b’ħaddiema barranin, minn dawk li jirċievu salarji għolja ħafna u dawk li jitħallsu bil-ftit, li diffiċli żżomm kont ta’ kif se jxaqleb il-qliegħ tal-impjegati ħaddiema u irġiel.
Għalija toħroġ konklużjoni ċara minn dak li ġie ppubblikat: l-impjiegi prekarji fost in-nisa fis-suq tax-xogħol qed jiżdiedu.
TRAFFIKU
Għaddew ix-xhur, jekk mhux is-snin, u dwar il-problemi tat-traffiku għadna qed nistennew xi ċaqliqa ’l quddiem. Mhux progress, imma talanqas bidu ta’ proposti konkreti dwar kif se nrażżnu l-pressjoni ta’ karozzi fit-toroq tagħna u noħolqu mezzi ta’ kif il-Maltin u l-Għawdxin jaslu minn rokna għal rokna ta’ dawn il-gżejjer mingħajr ma joħolqu staġnar tremend.
Dan l-aħħar kmieni fil-għodu, qabel is-sebgħa sew, soqt minn B’Kara sa Ħal-Luqa. Ħsibt li fil-ħinijiet bikrin is-sewqan se jkun eħfef. Bil-maqlub. Kien ili ma narah daqshekk imdennes. U l-istess problemi tal-aħħar snin, li għadhom hemm.
Dwal li jdumu wisq biex jinbidlu u f’salib it-toroq ta’ daqs kbir, mhumiex kordinati tajjeb biżżejjed. Karozzi li minħabba l-kraxx tat-traffiku jaraw kif jiżgiċċaw minnu billi jiksru r-regoli, jieqfu ħesrem jew jibqgħu għaddejja u joħolqu aktar problemi. Nieqsa għal kollox kienudawk li jissorveljaw xinhu għaddej.
Il-qasam tat-traffiku għadu wieħed prioritarju.
FIL-PORTUGALL
Kont f’Lisbona l-ġimgħa li għaddiet ma’ delegazzjoni tal-Kummissjoni Ekonomika u Finanzjarja tal-Parlament Ewropew. Iltqajna ma’ rappreżentanti tal-gvern, tal-parlament nazzjonali u tas-soċjetà ċivili fil-qasam ekonomiku u soċjali. Iddiskutejna dwar il-bidliet li qed iseħħu fil-pajjiż kemm ilu li ħareġ b’suċċess mill-programm ta’ “salvataġġ” li ż-żona tal-ewro imponiet fuqu biex jiskansa mill-falliment finanzjarju li kien qed jheddu matul il-kriżi tal-2008.
Wara l-aħħar elezzjonijiet, it-tmexxija tal-pajjiż inbidlet. Il-gvern hu minoritarju, immexxi mis-soċjalisti demokratiċi, imma sa issa bl-appoġġ “minn barra” li qed jagħtuh partiti oħra tax-xellug. Irnexxielu fi ftit taż-żmien, jibdel ir-rotta. Mill-awsterità għal prospetti ta’ tkabbir ekonomiku. Tul il-laqgħat li żammejna, il-mistoqsijiet kienu: Kif seħħ dan it-tijib u għaliex? Kifgawdew jew le, is-saffi soċjali differenti? X’inhuma l-prospetti għall-futur? It-titjib hu sostenibbli?

English Version – Women’s income

That women’s income from employment compared to men’s is among the lowest in Europe, and that the divergence between the two has continued to widen in recent years, is bad news.

Since the economy has maintained momentum while not enough workers are being found to take up job vacancies, one would have expected the average income of both female and male employees to increase, with women’s income pulling closer to that of men.

But no. We need to examine closely the reasons that account for these results which sound counter-intuitive.Probably one problem is that the Maltese labour market has been absorbing so many foreign workers, both highly and badly paid, that it is difficult to predict in which way the balance between male and female pay will evolve.

Still for me one conclusion seems clear from what has been published: precarious jobs for women in the labour market are still on the rise.

***

Traffic

Months if not years have elapsed, and yet on the problems being created by road traffic, we still await some forward movement. It would be too much to expect progress, but at least a beginning is needed by which some concrete proposals are made about how we could control the pressure of traffic in our roads, while creating methods by which the people of Malta and Gozo can travel right around the islands without generating tremendous jams.

Not so long ago, early in the morning, well before seven o’clock, I drove from B’Kara to Luqa. I thought that at such an early hour, driving would be easier. To the contrary. It was a longtime since I had experienced such a turgid traffic flow. The problems of past years are all still there.

Lights that take too long to change and at the bigger crossroads, lights that are just not synchronised well enough. Cars that blocked by the traffic crush, seek to avoid it by flouting the rules – stopping short or just driving through, thereby creating greater problems. There was a total absence of any proper surveillance of what was going on.

Oh yes, the problems of traffic management remain a priority area.

***

In Portugal

I was in Lisbon last week with a delegation from the European Parliament’s economic and financial committee. We held meetings with representatives of the government, the national parliament and civil society in the economic and social fields. We discussed the changes that Portugal has undergone since it exited the “rescue” programme imposed on it by the eurozone in order to overcome the threat of financial meltdown resulting from the 2008 crisis.

Post the last general elections, there was a change of administration. The minority government is now led by the social democrats and operates with the “outside” backing of other left wing parties. In a short time, it has successfully changed direction, from austerity to greater prospects of economic growth. During our meetings, queries that arose included: How was this turnaround effected and why? How have the different social strata fared, for the better and the worse? What’s the outlook for the future? Are current improved trends sustainable?