MMF claims 11,500 jobs are at risk; enraged at Govt’s inaction

The Grand Princess cruise ship carrying passengers who have tested positive for coronavirus is seen in the Pacific Ocean outside Pacifica
A fishing boat sails along the California coast as the Grand Princess cruise ship carrying passengers who have tested positive for coronavirus is seen in the distance in the Pacific Ocean outside Pacifica, California, U.S. March 8, 2020. REUTERS/Stephen Lam

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

The Malta Maritime Forum (MMF) has claimed that the employment of 11,500 persons in the maritime sector is at risk.

In a press release, MMF said that foreign governments are praising and financially compensating for the maritime industries. The Forum claimed that in the meantime, the Maltese Government abandoned its maritime workers.

The press release says that the maritime entities represented by the Forum, which include essential services such as stevedoring, transhipment, pilotage, towage, ship repair and port services in general, have not asked from the Government the level of USD one billion that the South Korean government is providing to aid shipping, but a fair burden-sharing agreement so that, as responsible employers, these entities are not forced to carry the full burden on their own.

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. MMF said that, “It is regretful and most insensitive that after three weeks since our meeting, we have not had the decency of an acknowledgement, let alone a confirmation.”

MMF continued saying that since Chinese ports were closed down and ships had to cancel voyages for lack of cargo, Malta had to receive its share of the disastrous situation. It said that the end result includes entities having lost from a minimum of 40% to 100% total market share wipeout. MMF insists that this is not the end of it, and that the Government does not understand this situation.

The Forum also said that the Government’s decision to ignore the maritime industry will have a great long-lasting impact. People who work in this industry deserve help from public funds which they, too, contribute towards, said the Forum. It is not just that they are discriminated against, it claimed.

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