Clint Camilleri’s Gozo Ministry is seeking to recruit an unspecified number of hairdressers at his ministry in another ‘scheme’ which smacks of nepotism and abuse of public funds.
An internal call for a ‘hairdresser’ published earlier this month does not specify the need for any particular diploma or qualification in the trade and is only limited to those who currently occupy the grade of ‘labourers’.
Such calls are presented in the singular, although a number of individuals could be recruited.
Public servants in the relevant grade and who are serving their working time in Malta are encouraged to apply so that they can start working closer to Clint Camilleri’s constituency.
Among the tasks they are expected to perform in this new government grade are “hairstyling”, “blow-dries”, “shaving”, “hair colouring” and “creating hairstyles to improve the look of clients”.
The requisites in the call, issued by Permanent Secretary John Borg, does not specify the ministry’s hairstyling clients.
Labourers chosen to occupy this new role through a simple interview will receive an annual salary of almost €16,000 a year, some €3,000 more annually over their current salary scale.
The three Gozitan cabinet ministers competing for the rule of Gozo, traditionally a PN district, are regularly creating ‘initiatives’ aimed at securing their position in parliament.
While Minister Camilleri is known to be Prime Minister Robert Abela’s favourite, both Ministers Caruana and Refalo are still aiming to gain the most amount of Labour votes in Gozo to demand a return to the Gozo Ministry.
40% wage bill increase in 8 years
The most recent unemployment statistics issued by the NSO show that until last June there were less than 200 people registered as unemployed in Gozo – the lowest level ever registered.
This situation of full employment is not particularly a result of unprecedented economic growth in the sister island but a direct intervention by the government to put a significant part of the working population on the public payroll.
Government financial estimates show that while the public service wage bill for Gozo stood at €19 million in 2013, this has increased to almost €27 million this year – an increase of 40%.
This staggering increase in personal emoluments does not include hundreds of Gozitans employed in other government-owned companies and schemes such as Gozo Channel and the Community Workers Scheme outsourced by Labour to a company controlled by the General Workers Union.
Even the Church in Gozo has become a significant beneficiary of the Gozo Ministry’s benevolence.
Before the last election, hundreds of people were put on the government payroll even though there was no real work for them. This had led to Gozitan constituted bodies officially complaining that ‘their’ workers in the private sector had all left their jobs to alternative employment in the public sector.
For the first time since Malta’s independence, Gozo produced a Labour majority in 2017. The current situation is being described by political observers as “worse than the last elections” as now there are “three Ministers and not just one” bidding for Labour’s political agenda.