Finance Minister Clyde Caruana confirmed a story revealed by The Shift last February that exposed efforts to put Karl Stagno Navarra on the government’s permanent payroll despite his having three-year definite contract with Air Malta.
Replying to a set of questions in parliament by Nationalist MP Ryan Callus, Caruana said that out of the 577 Air Malta employees who applied for the government’s Voluntary Employment Transfer Scheme (VETS), only three had definite contracts and were given the same option as the permanent employees.
The minister said one out of the three Air Malta employees with a definite contract has already been given another permanent job with the government. The Shift can confirm that the exception is Karl Stagno Navarra.
Air Malta sources told The Shift that the way the government is discriminating with airline employees is angering many.
“So, while Stagno Navarra was not entitled for this scheme and should have been booted out of Air Malta as soon as his definite contract came to an end, he was instead hand picked and given a plum job at the OHSA,” a senior Air Malta employee said. “At the same time, hundreds of workers who have been with Air Malta since its inception are still being kept in the dark about their future, or are being sent to jobs much lower than their grade.”
Stagno Navarra was sacked from the PN newsroom in the wake of repetitive stories concerning fraudulent behaviour and accumulating personal debts. He crossed the floor to Labour in 2013 when Prime Minister Joseph Muscat — himself a former One journalist — took office and was immediately put on the state payroll at Malta Enterprise and given consultancies by the OPM while conducting a daily propaganda show on Labour TV.
On July 8, 2019, he was given a new job by the government, this time as Head of Public Relations and Corporate Social Responsibility at Air Malta, even though the company already had another official in that position and was registering massive financial losses.
In addition to a basic salary of almost €40,000, Stagno Navarra was given a €3500 car allowance, a €2000 fuel allowance, a performance bonus, and other benefits including international health insurance for him and his family.
His Air Malta contract was to conclude at the end of June 2022.
Stagno Navarra was rarely seen at his place of work, spending most of his time at Labour TV preparing for his daily show, and yet he was still allowed to apply for a permanent government job as part of the VETS scheme despite not being a permanent Air Malta employee.
He has been given a new contract at RSSL Ltd, the state agency responsible for redundant workers, where he was seconded to a job as Public Relations manager at the Occupational Health and Safety Authority, which operates from offices near the PL headquarters in Hamrun.
It is not yet known whether Stagno Navarra was given the same remuneration package and perks that he enjoyed in his non-permanent position with Air Malta.