As we step into the uncertainties of 2024, a myriad of challenges confronts our nation, demanding strategic and nuanced approaches to safeguard our economic well-being, protect the environment, and empower our workforce. Among the pressing issues on our agenda, the campaign to halt the taxation of Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) stands out as a crucial battlefront.

The relentless grip of inflation shows no signs of loosening, threatening to erode the spending power of citizens across the board. To shield against the detrimental effects of this economic phenomenon, it is imperative to continue the fight against taxing COLA. As inflation persists, the purchasing power of individuals weakens, underscoring the urgency of preserving every penny of the COLA for the hardworking citizens who depend on it.

However, as we embark on this quest, a delicate balance must be maintained to avoid the perils of an inflationary spiral. Striking the right chord between combating taxation on COLA and preventing an inflationary crisis requires a nuanced and careful strategy that prioritizes the long-term economic stability of our nation.

Another significant challenge on the horizon is the implementation of the emission trading scheme under the Fit for 55 package, with potential catastrophic consequences for the Malta Freeport. While our commitment to environmental conservation is unwavering, we must tread cautiously to prevent unintended economic fallout. Protecting our environment is non-negotiable, but it should not come at the expense of hardworking citizens losing their jobs.

Finding a balance between economic progress and environmental responsibility is paramount. Innovative solutions and compromises must be explored to mitigate the impact on industries like the Malta Freeport, ensuring a harmonious coexistence between economic growth and environmental sustainability.

In our pursuit of a fair and just society, we advocate for the introduction of mandatory trade union membership for low-income workers. Empowering workers through collective bargaining is a powerful tool against exploitation, giving a voice to those who often find themselves on the fringes of economic negotiations. Mandatory union membership ensures that vulnerable low-income workers, have access to the protective shield of collective bargaining.

Simultaneously, we acknowledge the challenge posed by the issue of free riders – individuals who benefit from the collective efforts of unions without contributing to their existence. Addressing this challenge is pivotal to the success of our endeavours, as a fair and sustainable approach to collective bargaining requires the active participation and commitment of all stakeholders.

In the journey through 2024, we are tasked with navigating the delicate intersection of economic stability, environmental consciousness, and workers’ rights. Striking the right balance requires foresight, collaboration, and a commitment to crafting policies that not only address immediate concerns but also lay the foundation for a resilient and equitable future. As we face these challenges, let us forge a path that uplifts our nation while preserving the values that define us.