During the MCESD Council of the 13th October, the Social Partners were joined by the Parliamentary Secretary for Social Dialogue, Hon. Andy Ellul, and the Parliamentary Secretary for Reforms and Equality, Hon. Rebecca Buttigieg. Also in attendance were officials from the Directorate for Human Rights: Alexander Tortell and Bernice Zarb. The purpose of their presence was to explain the national Pact for the fight against racism and for intercultural inclusion.
The meeting began with an opening by the Chairperson of MCESD, Perit David Xuereb. He recognised the significance of October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, both in Malta and globally. Perit Xuereb stressed that MCESD’s mission involves acknowledging and addressing issues that have a direct impact on society. In support of the ‘Pink October’ campaign, all participants, including the social partners and the distinguished guests, sported pink symbols to encourage self-examination and a healthy lifestyle.
Mr. Alexander Tortell, the spokesman for the Directorate of Human Rights, delivered a comprehensive presentation about the anti-racism strategy. The goal was to gather valuable insights from the social partners regarding the implications of this strategy on both the social and economic aspects of the country.
Mr. Tortell emphasised a significant statistic: nearly 25% of Malta’s population was not born in Malta. Consequently, the strategy aims to address racism in all its forms, extending to economic aspects, while promoting intercultural inclusion. He highlighted the importance of collaborative efforts among government ministries, departments, stakeholders, and social partners to effectively combat various manifestations of racism, including xenophobia.
The Directorate shared its plans for close collaboration with social partners and private sector organisations to establish and align on competency standards for eradicating racism and promoting intercultural inclusion in recruitment and employment. These standards are intended to be incorporated into a national pact against racism.
Parliamentary Secretary Rebecca Buttigieg shared her perspective, emphasising the importance of preserving Maltese values, including language, religion, and culture, while ensuring that what is Maltese remains valuable. As Maltese citizens, it is crucial to ensure that newcomers to our country understand, appreciate, and embrace these values.
During the meeting, social partners expressed their views on this important and very relevant topic, acknowledging Malta’s increasing ethnic diversity and the need for a long-term perspective. The social partners stressed the importance of adopting a comprehensive and sustainable approach to address this matter effectively.
Additionally, they emphasised the importance of clear government direction on services, care, and pensions for the imported workforce. The regulation of the rental market has become a pressing issue as it poses significant challenges for the society living permanently in Malta.
Comments from the Civil Society Committee focused on poverty and the impact of racism on Maltese society. During their committee meetings, they consistently address topics related to the fight against poverty once they have representation from organisations working in this area. Racism among foreign workers in Malta has become a concerning issue that poses a threat to the harmony of society.
In conclusion, the Chairman of MCESD emphasised the significance of the subject in discussion. He highlighted that the MCESD remains committed to playing an active role in driving economic and social progress, including the need to combat racism and promote intercultural inclusion.
Furthermore, MCESD is well aware of the concerns expressed by Maltese society regarding the presence of foreigners in Malta, which some believe pose a number of challenges. MCESD is committed to continuing discussions and sending its feedback to the government to address such challenges.
The presentation on the National Anti-Racism and Intercultural Pact can be accessed from here.