At the crossroads of change

Jesmond Bonello, PL candidate for the upcoming European elections, discusses the key issues that have consistently come up in his conversations with the electorate.

In my journey through the heart of our vibrant communities, it’s become increasingly clear that the essence of a strong society lies in the equitable treatment and empowerment of its workers. My campaign is not merely about seeking votes; it is about forging a profound connection with every individual, understanding their aspirations and challenges, and collectively striving for a future that honours our shared values of fairness and dignity.

As we stand at the crossroads of change, the core of our discussions often revolves around the urgent need to uplift our workforce, ensuring fair treatment, just compensation, and respect for the rights of every worker — be they local or from abroad. The backbone of our economy, these individuals deserve more than temporary solutions or lip service; they require robust, enduring policies that genuinely address their needs and concerns.

The influx of foreign labour has undoubtedly helped fuel our economy, particularly in critical sectors. However, it is imperative that we manage this growth sustainably. Our policies must prioritise the employment of foreign workers in areas where they are most needed while simultaneously protecting them from exploitation and ensuring they contribute positively to our community. We must implement strict oversight to prevent the abuse of these workers, ensuring that they are seen and respected as valuable members of our society, not merely as economic tools.

Our economic model is a flexible one that includes various sectors, all contributing to the present economic growth. We need to continue attracting value-added sectors to complement the various sectors which are giving excellent results. This involves substantial investment in education and training programmes, and reskilling programmes that are directly aligned with the needs of our evolving job market. By empowering our workers with advanced skills and knowledge, we not only enhance their individual careers but also boost our national competitiveness and economic independence.

Photo: Los Muertos Crew

The battle for workers’ rights also profoundly intersects with the pursuit of gender equality in the workplace. As we advance our economic reforms, it is critical to ensure that our strategies are inclusive, promoting equal opportunities for all genders. Historical data and research continuously show that gender-diverse companies are more productive and profitable. McKinsey & Company’s reports suggest that businesses with diverse executive boards outperform their peers. Therefore, integrating gender equality into our labour laws and workplace policies is not just a moral imperative but a strategic economic necessity. By doing so, we not only empower women and other marginalised genders but also catalyse innovation and drive broader economic growth.

In addition to championing gender equality, enhancing connectivity and accessibility is paramount, especially in regions like Gozo. Isolation does not only hinder economic development but also impacts social inclusion. By focusing on state-of-the-art transport solutions, we can facilitate a more dynamic flow of commerce and communication. Investing in sustainable transport infrastructure is a critical step toward not only enriching Gozo’s economic framework but also ensuring that its natural beauty and environment are preserved for future generations.

My vision is for a society where every worker’s rights and contributions are not merely acknowledged but celebrated as the cornerstones of our national prosperity. This vision is deeply personal to me — it’s about our shared future, our dreams for a just, equitable, and thriving society.

Your needs are my needs, and I’m committed to fighting for us.

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