Ensuring a guaranteed basic income

The need for a decent basic income is an all-time issue among those who have a social conscience. However, it assumes more importance in times like these, when prices of essential goods are spiralling upwards, almost out of control.

The perennial question is whether the income received by each person through employment (or a pension) should be sufficient or else whether such income derived from employment or a pension should be supplemented through a social wage, when, on its own, it is insufficient for ensuring a decent living.

Various jurisdictions are experimenting with this idea through pilot projects. As a result, they are seeking to reinforce a social net, protecting the vulnerable through ensuring that each is guaranteed a basic income irrespective of his or her circumstances in life. Each person has the right to have the basic means to ensure a decent life.

The basic facts should, by now, be clear to all.

The three Caritas studies published to date have revealed a widening gap between the official minimum wage and three different categories of vulnerable households.

In the case of a household consisting of 2 adults and 2 children this gap is approximately 40 per cent, at 2020 prices. In fairness it has to be clarified that this gap does not include the receipt of social solidarity income, amongst which children allowances and the various forms of supplementary social income which may be applicable to specific circumstances. When this is taken into account, I believe that in most cases the gap is substantially reduced.

The current price rise of essential goods, average close to a 25 per cent rise in a number of cases, (although a number of items have had much steeper price increases) brings to the fore another worry. Cost of living adjustments to wages and pensions are effective at the beginning of the year, and reflect the cost of living of the previous twelve months.

The last statutory cost of living increase has been of €1.75 per week, less than the cost of a cappuccino. During the past years such increases have varied from a €5.82 per week increase in 2010 to a €0.58 per week increase in 2015.

At times this increase is deemed to be too low as was the 2015 COLA adjustment.

It is essential that the basket of goods and services utilised to measure the actual cost of living is updated on a regular basis in order to ensure that the results obtained are realistic and reflect actual needs.

Finance Minister Clyde Caruana has over the past weeks emphasised that he is considering proposals to introduce a new form of COLA for low-income people. So far, however, nothing has materialised. The Minister has hinted that he is discussing various proposals behind closed doors. Would it not be a much better idea if the discussion is externalised? Everyone of us is interested in the proposals being drafted and discussed.

One possibility which should be considered is not to keep accumulating the cost-of-living dues and carry out adjustments to the minimum wage (and pensions) on the following January. It should be possible to carry out cost of living adjustments to the minimum wage as well as to pensions twice a year, towards the end of June and towards the end of December.  In times of steep price increases, as the present, such an initiative could make a substantial difference to the vulnerable and those on low income.

Ensuring that each has a basic decent income is a basic requirement in the development of the welfare state.

published Malta Independent on Sunday : 30 January 2022

Lidl, the Big Brother supermarket, is watching you

The Lidl Scandal

From The Times (London)

March 27, 2008

by Roger Boyes in Berlin

The Stasi secret police may have died with communism but its surveillance methods are still alive at Lidl, the German supermarket chain.

George Orwell’s Big Brother, it seems, stalks the aisles between the cornflakes and the canned dogfood. Detectives hired by Lidl – which has more than 7,000 stores worldwide, including 450 in Britain – have been monitoring romance at the cash till, visits to the lavatory and the money problems of shelf-stackers.

Several hundred pages of surveillance records have been passed on to Stern magazine, causing outrage among the unions and data protection officials. Verdi, the powerful service sector union, is offering legal help to Lidl workers who want to sue the company for invasion of privacy.

The secret monitoring of staff seems to have taken place only in Germany, though there have been reports of something similar from Lidl outlets in Eastern Europe. Lidl UK declined to comment yesterday. In Britain Lidl has gained the reputation of being a sharp competitor to chains such as Tesco and Sainsbury but staff have complained in the past of long hours and low wages. Lidl Germany says that the cameras were placed “to secure our goods against shoplifting and not to watch our employees”. Even so, spokeswoman Petra Trabert said that the surveillance helped to “establish any possible wrong behaviour.”

Detectives hired by Lidl in Germany would install ten covert matchbox-sized cameras at strategic points in a supermarket every Monday and observe the store for a week. What emerges from the mass of accumulated material is a portrait of an intrusive employer; no information is too trivial for the watchers.

Here is Observation period 9-14 July, 2007 at a branch near Hanover: “Saturday 10.10am Ms J tells Ms L that she has never paid her television license fees because she is still registered with her parents, even though she lives with her boyfriend. The detective’s end-of-week advice to management is that Ms J is a security risk.”

Ms J’s days with Lidl, one suspects, could be numbered. But a Lidl spokeswoman told Stern: “All the people named in the transcripts are still employed with Lidl with the exception of five workers. Two were released after the end of their probation period, another three offered to resign.”

Little escapes Lidl. Above all there is a fascination with lavatory behaviour. “Ms R has been leaving the till to go to the toilet every 15 minutes, despite waiting customers,” says one report.

Watching two staff at a cash till in northern Germany, detectives spotted a budding romance. “Friday 13.50. The relationship between Ms L and Mr H should be investigated since they seem to have become close. When Mr H counted up Ms L’s takings he drew a little heart on the receipt.”

Among the crates of cheap German beer at Lidl’s Brixton branch, there would be plenty of places to hide cameras. The store’s deputy manager, who declined to be named, told The Times that he had no knowledge of any covert surveillance in his branch. He said that the rows of roof-mounted cameras are there only for security.

For Peter Schaar, the government ombudsman for data protection, the Lidl revelations are deeply disturbing. Federal data protection law, he says, is strict about surveillance in public spaces such as supermarkets. Hidden cameras like those used by the Stasi are banned. “They count as clandestine surveillance which is forbidden.”

Lidl …………….is-Supermarket taċ-Ċaqnu f’Ħal-Safi

btn_polidano.gif   lidl.jpg                         

Is-supermarket li qed jibni ċ-Ċaqnu f’Ħal-Safi huwa għad-ditta Lidl, kumpanija ta’ oriġini Ġermaniża li topera madwar 7,000 supermarket mifruxa mal-Ewropa kollha.


L-isem sħiħ tal-kumpanija hu Lidl Stiftung & Co KG. Hija propjeta tal-kumpanija  Schwarz li minbarra l-Lidl tippossjedi ukoll ic-chain stores Handelshof u Kaufland.


Lidl huwa mifruxa fi 17-il pajjiż u jopera bħala discount store.


F’artiklu intitolat Cheap – but not so cheerful ? Helen Pidd fil-ħarġa tal-Guardian tal-14 ta’ Marzu 2007 (ara http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2007/mar/14/businesscomment.supermarkets) titkellem fuq l-istrateġiji kontroversjali tal-Lidl, b’mod partikolari fil-mod kif tittratta lill-ħaddiema tagħha.


Aqra l-artiklu ħalli tifforma l-opinjoni tiegħek.


Tista’ tara ukoll dan is-sit : http://www.union-network.org/UNISITE/Sectors/Commerce/index_multinationals_Lidl.htm

 Inkompli darba oħra.

Meta ser ikollna Ministru tal-Ambjent ?


F’Konferenza tal-ahbarijiet hdejn Pender Place San Giljan ( ara link http://www.alternattiva.org.mt/page.asp?n=newsdetails&i=11007) AD iffukat fuq l-effetti li progetti ta’ zvilupp massicc qed ihallu fuq ir-residenti.

Kemm progetti li bdew bhal Pender Place (San Giljan), Tigne Point (Sliema) u Fort Cambridge (Sliema), kif ukoll dawk li ghadhom jistennew bhal Mistra Village (San Pawl il-Bahar) u  Ta’ Masrija (Mellieha).

Iffaccjat bl-ilmenti tar-residenti l-Ministru Pullicino jghidilhom biex jikkunslaw ghax dan l-izvilupp ghandu l-effett ukoll li jgholli l-valur tal-propjeta taghhom.

Dan diskors mhux dehen ta’ Ministru tal-Ambjent, izda iktar ta’ Estate Agent.

Dan id-diskors juri insensittivita kbira. Progetti ta’ dan it-tip m’humiex mehtiega meta fil-pajjiz  hawn iktar minn 53,000 propjeta vojta, li jistghu jservu l-htigijet tal-Maltin ghal snin kbar minghajr ma jkun hemm bzonn ta’ dan il-bini kollu li ghaddej bhalissa.

Ghax l-uniku gwadann minn dan kollu huwa ghall-but tal-ispekulatur u ghal dawk li huwa jiffinanzja.

Meta l-Ministru jiehu pjacir u jipponta subghajh lejn iz-zieda fil-valur tal-propjeta bhala xi haga li ghalih hi posittiva, nissuggerilu jahseb ftit fl-effetti negattivi li dan qed ihalli fuq dawk iz-zghazagh li qed jissallbu ghal 40 sena biex ikollhom saqaf fuq rashom. Il-kuxjenza socjali fejn marret ? 

Fid-dawl ta’ dan kollu jaghmel sens li nistaqsu jekk wasalx iz-zmien li jkollna Ministru tal-Ambjent. Ghax donnu li ghandhom ragun dawk li jghidu li ilna ta’ l-anqas hames snin ma jkollna wiehed !