Unions warn government not to raise energy tariffs
Trade unions have warned government that any new increase in energy tariffs will not be accepted, and workers cannot be expected to carry more financial burdens.
Speaking to BusinessToday, GWU secretary-general Tony Zarb and UĦM secretary general Gejtu Vella warned that any increase will immediately trigger a further rise in inflation which will have to be faced by workers, pensioners and their families.
While they both recognise the fact that the price of oil has surpassed the $75 mark, no consideration is being given to the already precarious situation in households that cannot cope with their previous energy bills, let alone further increased tariffs.
Reacting to the indications given by Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi last Sunday, both Tony Zarb and Gejtu Vella warned that the economy is already in serious trouble, and any other increase would plummet the workers standard of living to a new realty never experienced before.
“We will be faced with an immediate multiplier-effect and this would translate yet again to record inflation as we experienced for the past year,” Gejtu Vella said, while adding that inflation would lead to further loss in competitiveness.
GWU chief Tony Zarb said that it still had to be seen if government would increase the tariffs before or after the Budget, the effects of any pending increase will have the same adverse effect on the economy as we are currently facing.
“We are arguing over COLA that is the compensation for last year’s high cost of living that was triggered mostly by the utility tariffs, and so what would you expect if the tariffs are increased again, and the vicious circle is started again…” he asked.