During the election campaign, more than 200 people were put on an ‘unemployment scheme’ run by the GWU for a huge profit at the expense of taxpayers. More than 1,200 people are part of the program. Almost half are residents of Gozo. If Gozo is doing so well, why are there all these unemployed people?
How come Robert Abela is bragging about Malta’s record unemployment rate as hundreds continue to be added to the unemployment scheme? When the program launched in 2015, there were only 600 on its books. Now there are more than double.
The program aimed to help the unemployed find employment. But the program did not provide any training to improve the job prospects of the recruits. In 2019, four years after the program was launched, only 42 out of 839 people had found another job. It’s just five percent. Any plan with such a dismal failure rate would have been long since abandoned, especially one that is costing taxpayers millions.
The scheme was never intended to improve employment prospects. The National Audit Office blasted the community worker scheme, as the unemployment scheme was euphemistically called, in its 2019 report. unemployment,” commented the NAO.
No doubt the NAO was right. The Community Workers Scheme was just a cynical ploy to artificially lower the official unemployment rate. The registered unemployed simply received a salary for doing little or nothing.
The Labor government did not pay them directly. Instead, he paid the GWU a sum of money for each recruit. The GWU paid recruits a minimum wage and kept the rest for themselves. In return, Labor could boast that these unemployed recruits, paid for by our taxes, had been employed in the private sector. And Abela could boast that Malta had the lowest unemployment rate ever. In fact, Labor used our money to falsify figures and deceive.
But the scheme was far more sinister.
The real aim was for Labor politicians to be able to hand out jobs to voters. Kenneth Cutajar, CEO of District Operations Ltd, the for-profit company set up to siphon off taxpayers’ money from the scheme, said many were recruited simply on the direct recommendation of the Gozo minister.
Jobsplus should have decided who was recruited. Instead, the minister simply named the people he wanted to put on the program. These workers were paid like the others, but the Ministry of Gozo actually financed their salary. The ministry paid Jobsplus which then paid the GWU which then paid its own business District
Operations Ltd for the privilege.
No one knows what work, if any, has been done by those recommended by the Minister. No work logs were kept, according to the NAO.
The “job” the minister obtained for these people was like manna from heaven. They were paid for doing little or nothing, leaving plenty of time for their undeclared “part-time” jobs. Additionally, they also received a €450 performance bonus for being unemployed. These recruits were deeply indebted to the minister.
That was the real purpose of the scheme – to buy eternal gratitude cashed in votes on election day. This explains why the number of people taking part in this program reached record numbers in the months preceding the general elections. This is why 44% of the beneficiaries of the program come from a district – Gozo – which represents only 6% of the population.
The Community Workers Scheme was never intended to improve job prospects– Kevin Cassar
In the process, the regime wreaked havoc on the private sector, which was depleted of its manpower. Who would want to work for a private company that expects work for the money they paid when you could just get a check for idleness? Instead of improving employment prospects for Gozitans, the GWU unemployment scheme has undermined Gozo’s private industry, destroyed the island’s economy and destroyed any hope for the future.
The scheme served other purposes. On January 4, 2016, the GWU signed an agreement with the government to run the Community Workers Scheme. It was nominally a nonprofit GWU corporation, the CWSE Foundation, that was supposed to run the program.
Instead, GWU callously outsourced to a for-profit company called District Operations Ltd which it set up and whose shareholders included GWU Chairman Victor Carachi, GWU General Secretary Josef Bugeja, Deputy General Secretary of GWU Kevin Camilleri, GWU financial controller Robert Borg and the private practice of Konrad Mizzi. lawyer, Aaron Mifsud Bonnici.
In 2018 alone, they “spent” 1.2 million euros on administration costs. Their attendance fees tripled to €46,600 while the other directors received €32,400. Over five years, the GWU has received 8.5 million euros from this program. When the first contract expired, he was awarded a new seven-year contract worth €109 million, despite a much cheaper competing offer. These schemes have undoubtedly silenced the GWU, undermining workers’ rights and toeing the party line. It was a reward for working so hard for Labour.
But all was not bad. There has been exceptional success in this infamous plan. According to John Borg, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Gozo, in 2017 a well-known resident of Gozo joined a scheme for the unemployed set up jointly by the ETC and the Ministry of Gozo. On January 2, 2018, this famous resident was recruited into the GWU Community Worker Program. For three years he was assigned to the ministry in Gozo. But, in December 2020, he was moved to the Ministry of Education, just days after Justyne Caruana became minister.
After almost four years in the unemployment scheme, Danjel Bogdanovic was offered a contract to coordinate work in public schools. On February 26, 2021, he obtained a lucrative contract to conduct a study on the National School of Sport worth €5,000 monthly.
On March 8, 2021, a contract was drawn up for Bogdanovic to be employed as a support person at Caruana’s private secretariat.
So anyone who claims that no one in the GWU program is getting jobs is a liar and a traitor.
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