Absenteeism and overstaffing the rule among workers contracted for State service

A series of investigations have lifted the lid on schemes to get people into jobs that provide services to the State, and in which absenteeism and low productivity and overstaffing is particularly acute. Recruitment procedures are opaque, and these jobs are particularly ubiquitous in Gozo, where the chatter is of hundreds having been employed in such jobs in the past two year.

At least 900 are engaged in the Community Workers Scheme, with a few hundred of them being in Gozo. This scheme was originally envisaged as a stepping stone to get the long-term unemployed back into productive private-sector work, but it has now morphed into a government job by stealth, or at least by bypassing standard recruitment procedures. Most of these are assigned to local councils, and they cost the State more – given the low productivity – than if local councils had to engage private companies to do the same work.

Among the workers in Gozo, most are assigned to the department responsible for public cleanliness and upkeep of public areas. An example of overstaffing levels in the past two years can be seen in the complement of beach cleaners: these have increased substantially, and now they only spend around an hour on the job. Some of them even then go on to do a real job afterwards – working for the private sector, or providing a freelance service themselves.

Another group of workers are engaged by private companies contracted by government organs to provide a service such as security at schools, health centres, government departments and so on.

A recent investigation also exposed the case of an NGO that employed around a dozen workers after being paid by the government to open a small windmill.

Read More: Dozen employed at Gozo’s historical windmill with public funds are regular no shows

Read More: Jobless work scheme used to bypass recruitment procedures for easy government jobs 

Read More: GWU makes a profit off taxpayers in jobs scheme meant to be run by foundation

I am continuing investigations into these engagements with public entities or departments through the backdoor. If you have any information, please contact me on [email protected] in the first instance – confidentiality is assured.

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