Ma naħsibx li s-suġġett tqajjem dan l-aħħar b’mod siewi, politikament u soċjalment – jew anke professjonalment. Biss, naqbel li l-livelli tal-pagi f’pajjiżna llum jixirqilhom kull attenzjoni u eżami.

Qishom żviluppaw fostna tnejn, tlieta, erba’… forsi aktar … ta’ swieq tax-xogħol. Jiffunzjonaw skont mekkaniżmi li ma jiddependux minn xulxin. Biss, waqt li jkomplu għaddejja, qed jaffettwaw il-prospetti ta’ xulxin.

Għandek il-pagi għolja ħafna u dejjem jiżdiedu ta’ nies – bosta huma barranin – li għandhom expertise finanzjarja, diġitali jew oħra.

Għandek il-pagi relattivament tajba imma stabbli ta’ nies fil-maġġoranza Maltin, għalkemm qed jidħlu l-barranin, f’kategoriji ta’ xogħol tekniku u klerikali. Jitqassmu bejn is-settur privat u dak publiku.

Għandek il-pagi ta’ nies f’oqsma klerikali, ta’ valur miżjud teknoloġikament baxx jew soċjalment ta’ ftit prestiġju: f’termini reali, dawn il-pagi qed jonqsu, minħabba l-wasla tal-ħaddiema barranin, il-prattika tal-prekarjat u fatturi oħra.

U għandek il-“pagi” tan-nies li qed jiġu esplojtati bla ħniena, mhux l-anqas ħaddiema irregolari.

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JINTESEW

Aktar ma jgħaddi ż-żmien, aktar tinduna kif jintesew nies li matul ħajjithom ikunu ddedikaw ruħhom bil-kbir għal għanijiet serji, li emmnu fihom tassew. M’inix naħseb fil-protagonisti tax-xena politika jew ta’ xi xena oħra essenzjali fil-ħajja nazzjonali; aktar f’ċittadini oħrajn li mingħajr trumbetti u b’assidwità sħiħa raw kif għamlu biex jilħqu l-għanijiet tal-organizzazzjonijiet li fihom kienu attivi.

Każini tal-baned; tal-futboll; għaqdiet reliġjużi; trejd unjins; gruppi tan-negozju; assoċjazzjonijiet volontarji; u wkoll għaliex le, partiti politiċi…

Nista’ nsemmi mit-tifkira, brigata ta’ irġiel u nisa, illum minsija, uħud mejta, li taw servizz.

Dnub li qishom qatt ma eżistew. Biss, kif tista’ żżomm ħajja t-tifkira tagħhom? Forsi mhux dejjem hekk ġara minn ġenerazzjoni għall-oħra, li jintesew dawk li jkunu taw kontribut sempliċement b’impenn individwali?

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TAXXA MINIMA

Il-gvern Malti qabel li d-diskussjoni dwar l-argumenti li baqgħu jinqalgħu fl-Ewropa u lil hinn minnha ħalli kulħadd idaħħal taxxa minima fuq il-profitti tal-kumpaniji ssir fl-OECD (l-Organizzazzjoni għall-Koperazzjoni u Żvilupp Ekonomiku), ibbażata f’Pariġi. Malta mhijiex membru tal-OECD.

Il-ħsieb forsi kien li f’din l-organizzazzjoni, l-imbuttatura biex it-taxxa minima tiddaħħal tisfa bil-mod il-mod imwarrba. Ma jidhirx li taxxa hekk tkun fl-interess ta’ Malta. L-Irlanda… li għandha interessi bħal ta’ pajjiżna… u hi membru tal-OECD, donnha għamlet l-istess kalkolu.

Madankollu issa qed jirriżulta li d-diskussjonijiet fi ħdan l-OECD xaqilbu lejn qbil bejn il-pajjiżi tal-Punent favur taxxa minima bejniethom fuq id-dħul tal-kumpaniji. Anki l-Istati Uniti bdiet togħġobhom dil-proposta.

Jekk dir-rankatura tinżamm, se jkun diffiċli għal Malta… u l-Irlanda… biex jibqgħu jgħidu le!

English Version – Wages

I do not believe that the issue of wage levels in Malta today was raised recently in a useful manner, politically, socially or even professionally. Still I agree that it is an issue which merits attention and study.

It seems that two, three, four… perhaps more… labour markets have developed locally. They operate according to mechanisms that are independent of each other. Yet as they continue to function, they do affect each other’s fields of action.

There exists the very high and ever rising remuneration of people having financial, digital or some other expertise – mostly foreigners.

Then you have the relatively good but stable wage levels allocated to mainly Maltese employees (though there is an incidence of foreigners) in categories of clerical and technical work. These cover both public and private sectors.

At another level, there are the wages of people in clerical sectors and placements where the technological value added is low or is of low social prestige. Here, in real terms, such wages are declining due to the arrival of foreign workers, precarious working conditions plus other factors.

Finally one finds the “wages” being earned by people who are being unscrupulously exploited, mostly imported irregular workers.

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They’ll be forgotten

With time, one increasingly notes how easily come to be forgotten people who during their lifetime would have dedicated themselves in a big way to promoting strong objectives to which they were truly committed. This is not in connection with protagonists of the political scene or to some crucial sector of national society – but relates rather to other citizens who while staying outside the limelight, did their best to assiduously help reach the aims of organizations in which they were active.

You name it – band and football clubs; religious societies; trade unions; business groupings; voluntary associations; and political parties as well, why not…?

I can mention from memory whole squadrons of men and women, now forgotten, some dead, who gave service in this way.

The pity is that it’s just as if they never existed. Yet how can society retain memories of who they were and did? It is always the case that from generation to generation, those who get forgotten are the people who gave their contribution on the basis “simply” of their individual commitment.

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Minimum taxes

The Malta government agreed that discussion about the case still being made in Europe and beyond, for a universal minimum tax to be set on corporate profits, should be held within the OECD (the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) based in Paris. Malta is not a member of the OECD.

The idea probably was that in this Organization, the push for such a minimum tax to be introduced would be gradually shunted aside. It does not seem to be in Malta’s interest for a minimum tax to come into force. Ireland… whose interests are congruent to Malta’s… appears to have made the same calculation.

However now it is emerging that the OECD discussions are edging towards an agreement among Western countries for a minimum tax that they would all charge on corporation profits. Even the US has begun to appreciate the proposal.

If this approach is sustained, it will be difficult for Malta… and Ireland… to continue to say nay.