The Malta Independent on Sunday reports (CLICK HERE) what Bishop Mario Grech said during my radio show ‘Ghandi x’ Nghid’ on RADJU MALTA:
Gozo Bishop Mario Grech expressed concern yesterday that the unions haven’t taken a stand against the issue of work on Sundays.
Speaking during Andrew Azzopardi’s radio programme on Radju Malta, Għandi X’Ngħid, Mgr Grech insisted that people should not work on Sundays, and asked whether consumers and employers are being given more importance than workers (iż-żgħir).
The Church’s commission on work issued a statement expressing its disappointment that commercial establishments have been given permission to open on public holidays that fall on Sundays.
The commission has always insisted that Sunday is the day of the Lord, a day of rest and a day to spend with the family. Public holidays that fall on Sundays will become working days for many people, meaning they will have less time for themselves, said the commission, adding that while Maltese society is changing, the people should cherish, and not sell, their values, culture, customs and beliefs.
As the lifestyle of the Maltese is changing, so are the things that matter to the people, (from religious, cultural and social points of view), said the commission.
It went on to note that in a statement issued in August 2010, it had insisted on the need to protect Sundays and had expressed its appreciation to workers who have to work on Sundays due to the nature of their job.
Still, the commission spoke about the importance of ensuring that such workers also have time to rest and live their social, religious and cultural lives in a dignified manner. While work is extremely important, every person needs a decent amount of rest.
“Not working on Sunday is a right, not a privilege. There was a time when workers fought for this right, and it is now being denied. At this point, it is pertinent to consider: Can workers refuse to work on Sundays due to their faith, or will it be a matter of imposition?”
The World Health Organisation defines mental health as a state of well being in which every individual realises his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community. This definition reminds those who safeguard workers’ rights on the importance of well being, said the commission.
On abuse related to overtime and work carried out on Sundays that is not paid well, the Church commission urged employers who are Catholic to respect their faith and their workers in a holistic manner.
“Although the commission disagrees with the decision regarding work on public holidays that fall on Sundays, we believe that it was based on good intentions, both from an economic point of view, and also due to changes in people’s lifestyles.”
The Church commission appealed in favour of extensive consultation when such decisions are taken, in the best interest of workers and their families.