Workers employed through outsourced GWU scheme ‘working public sector jobs due to demand’
JobsPlus Executive Chairman Clyde Caruana told this newsroom that workers employed in the scheme outsourced to the General Workers’ Union are working in the public sector because there is a demand for such jobs.
He was responding to a question posed by this newsroom, following an article published in The Malta Independent on Sunday highlighting a crisis in the private sector, where many employers are struggling to find employees, and as such, cannot expand.
“If we had to close the community work scheme, government would still issue tenders in order to have cleaners in schools, or maintenance persons, or persons who help out local councils. These 600 are providing a service to government and its entities,” he said.
JobsPlus – formerly the Employment and Training Corporation – held its annual general meeting yesterday.
The outsourcing of the scheme to the GWU has sparked controversy recently, given that it was revealed that the union was making profit off workers in the public sector.
Asked why this scheme was outsourced in the first place, the executive chairman said that the scheme has been in place since 2009 and all those participating in the scheme, the 600 workers, basically did not have any rights at all.
“They were working but were not considered as workers. Government had two choices, either scrap the scheme or outsource it to private management. We opted for the latter. Participants in the scheme are benefiting from a minimum wage, statutory bonuses, some are able to do overtime and we are seeing how we can introduce a performance bonus. Of course this is far better than what was before and we intend to keep improving on the existing scheme”. Asked how much profit GWU is making, he said that it is not €8.5 million as was reported in sections of the press, however he failed to give this newsroom an exact figure. “The whole issue was blown out of proportion and it was unfair on us as we have disclosed all the information.”
The Executive Chairman also announced yesterday that a business intelligence system will be introduced in 2017, to help make things more efficient.
Mr Caruana said that the business intelligence system will mean that JobsPlus will not need to wait long to process information, and to check, for example, on work permits etc. The entity would be able to know which company is employing whom, what companies need employees etc. It should improve efficiency, he said, saving hundreds of hours.
He said that more youths and graduates who are unemployed are nowadays utilising the services provided by JobsPlus, and that the entity is meeting with employers more frequently.
Turning to the recent announcement that 200 Actavis jobs will be axed as a result of a “consolidation” exercise following its takeover by Teva, he said that JobsPlus, within hours, was able to call up the ministry and say that they found 120 jobs for these people.
Turning to the employment of persons with disability, this year more persons with disability were working than the previous year, he said.
Next year, the chairman announced, JobsPlus will publish a manual through which the entity will offer a vision to students and employers, regarding the opportunities expected to be created through the economy in the coming years.
In addition, Jobsplus will also explain the kind of education and qualifications required for particular jobs, the average wage etc.
Mr Caruana also said that over the past two years, 2,000 persons who were dependant on benefits have now started working.