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MALTATODAY 7 August 2022

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2 maltatoday | SUNDAY • 7 AUGUST 2022 NEWS JAMES DEBONO 65,324 workers during the COV- ID year of 2020 could not afford to get away on a holiday for a whole week, Eurostat data re- leased by the European Trade Union Confederation shows. Malta was one of 11 EU mem- ber states in which the percent- age of workers who could not af- ford a holiday increased between 2019 and 2020, a period which coincided with the pandemic. Although statistics are not yet available for 2021 and 2022, ETUC has warned the current cost of living crisis is expected to further increase holiday poverty in Europe in a context where in- creasing numbers are struggling to make ends meet and putting holidays even further out of reach. "Holiday poverty is highly likely to become even worse as a result of the cost-of-living crisis and inflation, underlining the need for workers across Europe to receive a decent pay rise this summer." Malta has so far been spared the hike in energy prices with the government absorbing the extra costs, but not from that of food prices. The figures are based on an analysis of Eurostat 'microdata', which is not publicly available, by the European Trade Union Institute, the independent re- search centre of the ETUC. The total number of workers unable to afford a holiday was calcu- lated by the ETUI, based on the percentages provided by Eu- rostat. ETUC estimates that 38 mil- lion people currently cannot af- ford a holiday of a week or more in the EU. Romania, Greece and Lithu- ania have the highest share of workers unable to get away for a week. Italy (8m) , Spain (4.6m) and France (4.1m) have the highest number of workers miss- ing out on a break for financial reasons. Eurostat data published a year ago also showed that in 2019, 55% of all Maltese at risk of pov- erty could not afford a week- long holiday compared to 26% of those not at risk of poverty who not afford that same holiday. ETUC argues that holidays should not be considered to be a luxury. "Holidays are an impor- tant part of ensuring the health and wellbeing of workers, but couldn't seem further away for many people struggling to sim- ply put food on the table and pay the rent amid the cost-of-living crisis." Moreover the increase in hol- iday poverty coincided with greater profit retention in com- panies which saw executives and shareholders hoarding more money among themselves to the detriment of workers. This claim is substantiated by profit share statistics issued by Eurostat which do not cover Malta. ETUC Deputy General Secre- tary Esther Lynch warned that "without a fair pay rise, employ- ers and politicians will find they return from their own summer holidays to face an autumn of anger followed by a winter of discontent." 2019 2020 Romania 45.7% 47% Greece 41.3% 43.4% Croatia 39.5% 39.7% Lithuania 28.6% 41% Malta 25.3% 26.7% Bulgaria 22.4% 27.2% Spain 24.3% 25% Latvia 19.4% 21.2% Luxembourg 7.7% 7.9% Finland 6.5% 7.7% Denmark 6.4% 7.5% Over 65,000 Maltese workers could not afford a holiday in 2020 Percentage of Maltese workers who could not afford a hotel increased from 25% to 27% Countries where share of working people who can't afford one-week holiday has increased A 21-year-old man was yes- terday arrested in connec- tion with the hit-and-run in Żejtun that killed Antoine Degabriele, 51. Police managed to trace the car, a Mazda Demio, in a garage in Żabbar earlier on Saturday. The man from Birżeb- buġa was yesterday held at the police lock-up, whilst police investigations and a magisterial inquiry are on- going. Antoine Degabriele's life- less body was found on Fri- day at around 11:45am, in a field by Anton Buttigieg street in Żejtun. Degabriele worked in the catering in- dustry, with people describ- ing him as a much-loved figure in the community. Birzebbugia man, 21, arrested over Zejtun hit- and-run "Holiday poverty is highly likely to become even worse as a result of the cost-of-living crisis and inflation, underlining the need for workers across Europe to receive a decent pay rise this summer."

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