GRTU protests against suspension of ETC schemes

The GRTU strongly protests against the temporary suspension of two employment schemes which have been withdrawn due to oversubscription.

The two suspended employment schemes have created more than 2000 jobs
The two suspended employment schemes have created more than 2000 jobs

The GRTU has written to the Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi asking for a round-table meeting involving all stakeholders to discuss the temporary suspension of two ETC schemes.

In the letter, the union stressed the importance of retaining two employment generating schemes, namely the Training Aid Framework (TAF) and the Employment Aid Programme (TAP). The union said that these two schemes generated more than 2,000 jobs.

The GRTU strongly protested against the temporary suspension of these two schemes which together have a budget of over  €16 million. ETC said the two schemes have been withdrawn due to oversubscription.

"This is a very bad message issued at a very difficult period as these schemes have been very successful in sustaining the level of employment in Malta and have been of particular stimulus to the retaining and expansion of employment in the micro and small business sector," the GRTU said.

"Our main concern until now has been the excessively delayed system of wage refunds on these schemes to small employers. Unfortunately this delay, which causes cash flow problems to many small businesses, owes its responsibility to the Office of the Prime Minister itself due to the excessive bureaucratic demands the Planning and Priorities Coordination Department has practiced."

The ETC said it will be undertaking an exercise to ensure that the funds committed by applicants will be reimbursed. However the corporation explained that failure to submit the claims for reimbursement by the deadlines set will be considered as a withdrawal of the application from the employer's side and the funds allocated to the application in question will be revoked and re-allocated. This will enable the Corporation to free up funds to be allocated to other applicants.

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The Employment and Training Corporation seems to go the opposite way of European trends in resolving unemployment. Amongst many controversial actions, include: a) excessive monitoring of employment termination intended solely to save Social Security expenditure at the expense of persons in poverty. b) officious and increased bureaucracy by its own officials, rather than flexibility c) not offering any ICT related courses; ICT is heavily in demand d) promising financial incentives which are made up of 75% refund - through tax credit of a training course taken externally. These funds may be available only after mid-September 2012 according to their managers. This action clearly discriminates persons who can afford training, from those unfortunate who do not have a stable employment and thus cannot afford to pay the courses upfront out of their pockets. In this manner ETC is not showing any social and ethical responsibilities towards unemployed persons. It is also noted that the recruiters judge resumes "by the book" with little regard for equivalent experience, and, this seems to attempt to compete with private recruitment agencies who base their requirements solely on those provided by the employers, without attempting to manage the skills gap. Is this an example of how Government officials brush off problems they are responsible for managing?
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So that's where 10% of the 20,000 new jobs are coming from. Precarious indeed! I wonder who actually got employed, apart from wives, sons, daughters, cousins, aunts etc etc. So first we edge them on to create "employment", then we try to avoid paying them. Why? Another balbuljata?