Work­ers em­ployed through out­sourced GWU scheme ‘work­ing public sec­tor jobs due to de­mand’

Malta Independent - - NEWS - Kevin Schem­bri Or­land

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.

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