The Nationalist Party has expressed its solidarity with the approximately 200 HSBC Swatar Call Centre workers who were yesterday informed that they would be made redundant once the centre closes its doors in June 2024, and described the multinational bank’s decision as “a wake up call” for the Labour Government regarding the country’s need to reskill an dupskill its workforce.

Ivan Castillo

In a press release penned by the Opposition Spokesperson for the Maritime Sector and Labour Ivan Castillo and the Spokesperson for Finance Jerome Caruana Cilia, the PN said it is “essential” that the workers affected are given the support and help they need, while being given the opportunity “by every means possible” to learn new skills.

“The Government has an opportunity to start investing seriously in workers and now it is time to move from words to facts,” said the PN.

It pointed out that the PN has long insisted that the reskilling and upskilling of Malta’s labour force is necessary to continue attracting foreign and local direct investment into the country.

“Unfortunately, the Labour Party kept dragging its feet and the country lost precious time where we could have invested in improving the skills of a number of workers and attracted new sectors of employment.”

Jerome Caruana Cilia

It said that the Labour Government “does not yet have a national strategy for improving the skills of its workers, unlike the majority of European Union countries, which are very advanced in skill mapping and anticipation of skills assessment.”

Meanwhile, the National Skills Council, set up in 2016, “was completely unworkable by 2023 and, by its own admission, has yet to start work to start on a national skills strategy.”

It added that while the HSBC Swatar Call Center had opened in Malta due to the high standards of the Maltese employee, particularly in the IT communication and financial services sector, as well as the use of the English language, Malta has now started to experience changes in working methods with the introduction of new technologies, such as artificial intelligence, that are changing the way work is done.

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