Charlon Gouder refuses to explain his role in importing Nepalese cheap labour

Charlon Gouder, a former Labour Party reporter turned lawyer, is refusing to explain his role in a contract to import some 350 workers from Nepal on cheap labour conditions.

Gouder put his signature to a contract in 2017, seen by The Shift, between local human resources supplier Ozo Group and a Nepalese employment agency for some 350 workers to be flown into Malta for different jobs. The Maltese company is involved in a number of government contracts and direct orders.

The Nepalese workers, who had to stay in the country for a minimum of two years, were to be paid very low wages hovering around the minimum wage, while Ozo Group was responsible for their flights, accommodation and the daily provision of meals during their eight-hour shifts.

According to the contract – for the ‘importation’ of a total of 350 people to work as waiters, housekeepers, kitchen helpers, cleaners, painters and accounts clerks – those sent to Malta and found to have medical conditions would be immediately flown back to Nepal at the foreign agent’s expense.

Importantly, Ozo Group also bound itself to secure all the visas necessary for each Nepalese worker. It is Identity Malta that issues such visas. This heavily bureaucratic process requires proper contacts and the pulling of strings within the right channels for visas to be expedited to line up with the arrival of the workers.

Apart from the signature of Ozo Group chairman Mario Muscat, the contract also, somewhat oddly, includes the signature and lawyer’s stamp of Charlon Gouder.

It was independent political candidate Arnold Cassola who first raised questions over the role of the Labour propagandist in the importation of cheap labour. Yet Gouder failed to react.

It was independent political candidate Arnold Cassola who started questioning Gouder

It was independent political candidate Arnold Cassola who first questioned Gouder

Asked directly by The Shift to explain his role, Gouder, at first, completely denied his involvement.

However, when The Shift showed him a copy of the contract, Gouder said: “I categorically deny that I am, or have ever been, a second party to any agreement for the importation of workers from Nepal.  Anything, including agreements, showing otherwise, as indicated in your assertions, are false.”

A section of the contract for the importation of cheap labour from Nepal signed by Charlon Gouder

Pressed to explain his role and to state whether the signature on the contract was his, Gouder went silent.

The Shift is informed that at the time of the contract’s signing, Gouder was also serving as a government consultant, in addition to various other roles he was given since the Labour Party was returned to power.

He also serves as the chief lobbyist of the private multi-million-euro controversial tuna ranching industry. He is one of the lawyers filing appeals on behalf of the government to deny Freedom of Information requests.

The Ozo Group, co-owned by the Zammit Tabona family, which also owns the Fortina Group, declined to comment, citing “private company matters”.

Based in Qormi, the Ozo Group is one of the many Maltese agencies and intermediaries that have specialised in the newfound sector of importing cheap foreign labour.

Mario Muscat next to Michelle Muscat and Edward Zammit Tabona promoting their sponsorship of The Marigold Foundation.

The government itself has become a main player in this ‘cheap labour’ economy, employing as it does thousands of such workers through these agents in many job descriptions – from cleaners to receptionists and from nurses and carers to waste collectors.

Agents such as the Ozo Group rack up earnings by making a profit on everyone they hire to private and public companies while keeping their employees on low wages.

According to an Ozo Group contract, a Nepalese housekeeper, cleaner or kitchen helper in 2017 was paid a total of €735 a month, exactly the same as the minimum wage. The workers were also given free accommodation and food.

Confirming the trend, industry sources told The Shift that in other cases, ‘imported’ employees are being paid slightly more but would also have accommodation expenses to foot, meaning many such workers end up sharing small living quarters with ten or more other workers.

It is estimated that in Malta, there are currently tens of thousands of these workers, with many being engaged irregularly and open to blatant abuse.

The sources said that apart from creating ‘artificial demand’ in terms of housing and construction, importing cheap labour still helps businesses keep their payroll costs low while increasing their profit margins.

                           
                           
                               
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carlos
2 months ago

muvument korrott ghall-haddiem – BIEX JISFRUTTAH. M’hemmx wiehed li hu wiehed li mhux korrott.

viv
viv
2 months ago

Look how Labour acolytes treat people who have no vote. Look hard.

Last edited 2 months ago by viv
KLAUS
KLAUS
2 months ago
Reply to  viv

Typical for ROBBER Abela and his GANG:
Talking nicely acting poorly.

KLAUS
KLAUS
2 months ago

How shameful for half-silken Chalon Gouder.
How shameful for the government.
How shameful for the dishonest PL. 

Employed somehow nevertheless with the PL political looters (mainly of the poorest), cannot and may not even say which sordid “work” he does.

We have many refugees who would like to work and many do.
We have refugee camps that resemble prison camps.

We have a sea distress call that lets children die of thirst at sea.
We have a prime minister who prefers to vacation and sell bloody passports.

We have a pozei commissioner who is paid to look the other way and do nothing.
We have a judiciary that is unjust.
We have a police force that likes to kick down doors on innocent people and may well be called now “burglars”.

We have ministers and their minions who help themselves so brazenly to Maltese money that “I can’t eat as much as I want to vomit”.

What parasites.
Enough is enough.

makjavel
makjavel
2 months ago

By normal standards he qualifies as a slave driver.
My information from Nepalese workers is that they did not even have enough to buy food. Maltese workers brought this worker food to eat. When the Maltese friends tried to get her a work permit through Jobs Malta , employ her directly and pay her the wage which the company paid to her contractor , it was simply IMPOSSIBLE. No wonder if the slave driver is placed in a well placed position to order Jobs Malta around.

KLAUS
KLAUS
2 months ago
Reply to  makjavel

Dear makjavel,

when I read Maltese workers brought this worker food to eat.
I could cry. I really mixed me totally up.

Wherever we spot a minister, the (former) Prime Minister, a PL-‘Boss’, other corrupt half-silked, … we should shout to them, just what they are PARASITES.

Best,
Klaus

Greed
Greed
2 months ago

Identity Malta hands out residency visas to all and sundry as long as the person is connected yet won’t give residency permits to bonafide home owners who have owned homes here for decades with no mortgage and are self sufficient because they are expats from certain countries and ID Malta didn’t have the grace to even meet face to face with most of them. You know who you are RC?

Victor Vella
Victor Vella
2 months ago

Do they actually give them accommodation? and if they do what kind of premises are they giving them? To the point that these workers are moving out.

makjavel
makjavel
2 months ago
Reply to  Victor Vella

Bunk beds bix xift.

Charles Bartolo
Charles Bartolo
2 months ago

I know of a local supermarket chain that uses such a scheme and pays Nepalese members of staff €3.70 an hour.

R Pace Bonello
R Pace Bonello
2 months ago

Name and shame

Charles Bartolo
Charles Bartolo
2 months ago
Reply to  R Pace Bonello

Dave’s Supermarket

Charles Bartolo
Charles Bartolo
2 months ago

I cannot understand most Maltese people who are ok with 50,000 slave workers imported with the government blessings and yet make a fuss about 2,000 irregular immigrants.

viv
viv
2 months ago

Media control.

makjavel
makjavel
2 months ago

Il Marigold Foundation tinghata flus min fuq dahar skjavi barranin mixtrija u mikrijja mil Milord Zammit Tabona lil min il gvern ta Muscat hadlu l-impjegati ghal vot.

Lorna
Lorna
2 months ago

Charlotte Gouder is the lawyer of disgraced Joseph Cuschieri, the former disgraced MFSA and MGA CEO. That explains a lot.

Bamboccu
Bamboccu
2 months ago

Fejn qedha il GWU u
Josef Bugeja?

Jools Seizure
Jools Seizure
2 months ago

It’s amazing how quickly they forgot about their socialist principles once they were voted into power. For those of you who voted for these people, EZL summed you up pretty well I would say.

R Pace Bonello
R Pace Bonello
2 months ago

Il’ partit tal haddiema Vera gahan. Pajjiez mimli cwiec

Out of Curiosity
Out of Curiosity
2 months ago

I cannot explain how people of a certain nature, perhaps not even correct to call them people, can keep up with their lives as if nothing happens when they know well that what they are doing is simply exploitation of vulnerable people to the detriment of locals too, who are being crowded out from sectors and replaced by human beings who are desperate to earn a living in any corner of this filthy world we are living in. SHAME ON YOU

Brian Borg
Brian Borg
2 months ago

The Shift is informed that at the time of the contract’s signing, Gouder was also serving as a government consultant, in addition to various other roles he was given since the Labour Party was returned to power.
Ara tixraq Gouder!

Joseph
2 months ago

As a matter of fact I noticed this in Bar & Restaurant in Valletta where all the staff who was MALTESE changed them all from waiter’s to kitchen staff like Cooks all foreigners but the owners are Maltese.

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