President of Malta George Vella has thanked all foreign workers who have made Malta their adoptive home and contributed to the country’s economic growth through their “hard work and commitment to the job”.

The President made the comments while visiting J.M. Vassallo Vibro Blocks Ltd, the country’s leading supplier of steel reinforcement and structural elements. He expressed his hope that all foreign nationals feel valued and welcome in Malta.

At the start of the year, Finance and Employment Minister Clyde Caruana confirmed there were around 67,500 foreign workers in Malta, with the number stalling for the first time since 2009 due to the onset of the pandemic. While the presence of foreign workers on the island is often a bone of contention among the general public, it is widely acknowledged that Malta’s accelerated economic growth rate over recent years could not have been attained without the boost to the country’s workforce.

After being shown around the plant in Żebbuġ, the President said he was pleased to witness the level of attention and standards that the company and its employees dedicate to their work.

“When one looks at the way this enterprise has developed since its creation in 1969, one fully appreciates the efforts made along the decades for it to nowadays be regarded as a leading actor in this industry,” he remarked.

“This has entailed continuous investment in equipment, techniques, and human resources. Attention to high standards and quality is what gives any given enterprise an edge above the others. I encourage the management to keep up its competitive pace by injecting new ideas in the company’s physical and human assets to ensure that the final product is satisfactory and, above all, safe.”

The President also emphasised the need for all workers to be kept safe at their place of work, and to ensure that all occupational health and safety standards are observed at all times.

“Your knowledge and experience have a place and value in our society, which in my view has been underestimated over the years. Our community needs your labour skills, as much as it needs the professional knowledge of the doctor, the manager, the teacher, and so on,” he said, adding that he strongly encourages training and vocational formation as the basis of a functioning and diversified economy.

The company’s Chairperson, Raymond Vassallo, thanked the President for his visit. He explained how the company has invested in state of the art technology to become increasingly more efficient, guarantee product quality, and safeguard health and safety at the workplace while consuming less energy and drastically reducing waste. An internal laboratory has been built to certify material in a bid to ensure that products meet the norms and standards expected by clients. Investment has also been made in renewable energy, with enough solar panels being installed to produce all the energy needed by the plant.

Stressing that an enterprise must continue to invest and adapt in order to remain competitive, Mr Vassallo said that the pandemic has hit his company in a way that doesn’t allow it to operate as efficiently as it would like to.

The President took the opportunity to thank the Directors of J.M. Vassallo Vibro Blocks Ltd for the “very generous” support they continue to give to the Malta Community Chest Fund Foundation.

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