Staying out of the EU is "to lose out" - Gejtu Vella
It is not only the UHM which is saying that staying out of the EU means that workers would be losing out but also influential trade union leaders and Labour MPs in Europe, according to Gejtu Vella, general secretary of the Union Haddiema Maghqudin.
Mr Vella referred to an Online chat held on June 26 on Workers Rights in Europe in which John Monks, secretary general of the British Trade Union Council, and Labour MEP Richard Corbett took part.
"Mr Monks, a very respected person in the trade union world, did not mince his words," Mr Vella told The Times when contacted.
Mr Monks said: "Britain is losing 10,000 jobs in manufacturing industry each month. There is a high price being paid for Britain not being in the euro".
Labour MEP Richard Corbett said: "Staying out means losing out.
"Joining the euro will help safeguard jobs, especially in our manufacturing sector. We are now competing at a disadvantage within our main market. Nearly 60 per cent of our exports go to the rest of the European Union involving over three million jobs. Staying out means losing out," Mr Corbett said.
Mr Vella said Malta would have to adopt the euro sometime after it joins the EU.
"The euro for the Maltese does not only mean convenience when travelling abroad. It also means that there would be a financial discipline and the government cannot incur an uncontrolled public deficit, which is very important. A government can be popular by making a mess of public expenditure," Mr Vella said.
"Financial discipline means that there would be more value for money in government spending," he added.
Another aspect Mr Monks commented about was that "Europe has always tried to combine prosperity with social justice and workers rights. It is a very different approach from the 'winner takes all wild west' of US capitalism."
Mr Vella said this was another significant aspect of the EU which also convinced the UHM that the best way forward was to go for EU membership.
"Take as an example the regulations safeguarding health and safety and the new directives which will be entrenched in Maltese legislation on conditions of employment, currently being discussed in parliament's social affairs committee.
"Maltese workers would have never had such legislation were we not preparing for EU membership.
"When you hear people like John Monks and Richard Corbett speaking on EU standards and legislation, and bear in mind they come from a big country with a strong economy, and saying that staying out is losing out, what should we, living in a small country with a fragile economy, say?
"Malta has a fragile economy depending on imports and exports and thus it makes even more sense for us to form part of a big economic block which would provide the necessary safety net and brings about improvements in social policy," he said.