All 75 candidates who applied for a vacancy to join the Gozo Ministry as labourers last February have received a passing mark for the job.
The Ministry of Gozo called for the recruitment of labourers, the lowest grade in the public administration, during the electoral campaign through a vacancy issued last February. The call did not set an amount for how many labourers were needed and did not require any specific qualifications to apply.
A total of 75 applications were received, mostly from those already on some other temporary government scheme like the Community Workers Scheme, but at a lower wage.
Following interviews conducted by the Ministry’s Director for Services Joyce Farrugia, Mario Borg from the Finance Ministry and Mario Saliba from the OPM, all candidates were declared successful. The result were published last week and seen by The Shift.
The Ministry has now begun recruiting the successful candidates and putting them on the government payroll. This exercise is expected to cost taxpayers an additional €1 million per year in salaries and related expenses.
Sources at the ministry told The Shift that the government administration in Gozo does not need any more tradesmen, and that the vacancy formed part of the usual vote buying exercise carried out by the minister before the election.
“Most of the applicants were constituents who were asking the minister to switch them on to a permanent government job and not remain on the temporary community workers scheme or on contract with some private service provider,” the sources said. “This vacancy was created so these constituents could get a permanent job and a slight improvement in their take home pay.”
According to the sources, a government job has become a form of security in recent years, and even a businessman with a thriving restaurant in Xlendi which was bought by a construction developer for €3 million has been recruited in this most recent intake of labourers.
Always much more dependent on government jobs than Malta, Gozo has been transformed into a government recruitment agency, with all three Labour MPs from Gozo serving as ministers and competing against one another for how many favours can be delivered to potential voters.
The majority of the Gozitan working population is now employed by the government, either directly or indirectly through the Community Workers Scheme, at the Gozo Channel or by private companies who supply government departments and entities with security, trades and other services.
In the meantime, the Gozo private business community struggles to find full-time workers, with companies in the health, tourism and entertainment sectors having to recruit personnel from abroad.
This system has proven to be politically successful for the governing Labour Party which for the second election in a row managed to win a majority of votes in Gozo. Gozo has traditionally voted PN since 1964, except for the 2017 and 2022 elections.