Saturday, 18 August 2007

Safeguarding Workers' Rights in Malta

There was a time in Malta, over 20 years ago, when the Malta Labour Party (MLP) and the General Workers Union (GWU) worked very hard to put an end to the unemployment problem tormenting various members of the Maltese society. The same organisations were also viewed as champions of workers' rights. During those days, the commitment to promote socialist beliefs was clearly evident when one listened to the representatives of the MLP and of the GWU.

Nowadays, it seems that both the MLP and the GWU need to reinsert the word "socialism" into their agendas. I cannot understand why there appears to be so little mention of the socialist ideology by the people who are suppoesdly struggling to transform the Maltese society into a perfectly socialist one. By adhering to ideological principles, it becomes easier to focus on the main goals that an organisation would like to achieve. Of course, such principles should not be seen as dogmas, but as guides to action. To those familiar with Marx's work, this notion is not new.

Over the past few years, Malta has witnessed a growing level of tension with respect to the idea of foreigners working here. As a Socialist, my stance is an internationalist one; I view all workers as human beings who have the same rights, regardless of their passport country. Nationality is something which is usually imposed on a person; which person was ever asked where he/she would like to be born? The typical employer rarely cares about an employee's nationality; he/she is normally more interested in determining the extent to which that person could contribute to increasing one's profit at a very low cost.

When it comes to employment, I believe that all human beings are born with the same right to have a job with a living wage and decent conditions. While some people would prefer to promote racist conflicts between the inhabitants of one country and another, I think that we ought to focus on safeguarding workers' rights, regardless of their nationality.

The MLP and the GWU need to keep their eyes wide open to monitor what is going on in various workplaces in Malta. Courses should be organised to inform workers about their rights and demonstrations should also be carried out against any acts of exploitation that cripple the lives of countless workers. Whoever turns a blind eye to such matters cannot be regarded as a socialist.

To conclude, I would like to mention the message of a poster that was used by one of the leftist political parties in Italy for Workers' Day. The poster stated that regardless of a person's skin colour, sweat has the same colour on everyone's skin. Let us all unite to safeguard workers' rights in Malta and in the world!

1 comment:

La delirante said...

I believe the political parties have somehow forgotten what their ideologies are supposed to be. They are just interested in getting to power. I read some days ago about a labour MP who suggested the need for a bus for coloured people living in Marsa. Have they forgotten the apartheid? What do they really believe in?