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Power of incumbency: some 1,000 Gozitans got jobs weeks before election

Private employers left smarting as workers deserted their jobs, while 450 government employees promoted from grade 18 to 16

saviour_balzan
Saviour Balzan
11 June 2017, 8:00am
Labour won three our of five seats on Gozo, with Clint Camilleri (second from left), Anton Refalo and Justyne Caruana (second from right) elected to the House
Labour won three our of five seats on Gozo, with Clint Camilleri (second from left), Anton Refalo and Justyne Caruana (second from right) elected to the House
Over 1,000 Gozitans of voting age were recruited to jobs with the government or subcontracted agencies on the island of Gozo just weeks before the June 3 election, leaving many major and small businesses short of staff and unable to operate efficiently.

The employment spree hit companies that are mostly involved in manufacturing, furniture factories and the construction industry, apart from many small enterprises.

Company owners and business leaders spoke to MaltaToday personally on the exodus of workers to the public sector.

A sizeable number of new employees joined the Gozo Channel company, which took on just under 150 workers, while others included labourers with the government, a number opting for jobs in security, carers and cleaners mainly working with those companies subcontracted by government agencies and departments.

In some cases, the staff complement trebled in size. A large number, around 200, joined the General Workers Union’s jobs scheme while 180 entered the JobsPlus job schemes, with recruitments to the GWU jobs scheme still ongoing on election day.

Over 100 new employees from the Gozo ministry were stationed at the Cittadella in Victoria. Their attendance was noted by a palm-reader machine, but this was retained after the employees complained about the reader. Eight full-time employees from the Gozo ministry were also based at the Dwejra heritage site.

At the same time, a massive promotions drive took place in the civil service, where government employees at grade 18 were promoted to grade 16. This promotion impacted 450 employees.

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Government reaction

In a statement, the government said that it rejected the report completely.

“National statistics, as well as Eurostat statistics will be confirming that this story is incorrect, once the statistics for the first half of 2017 are published,” it said. 

saviour_balzan
Saviour Balzan is the founder and co-owner of MaltaToday. He has reported on Maltese poli...