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New dockyard owner starts recruiting

Italian company Palumbo, which acquired the facilities of Malta Shipyards, is employing people for its ship-repair operation in Cospicua even though the land transfer has yet to be approved by Parliament.

It is not known how many people the company will employ although the Finance Minister had said in March the indications were that it would initially engage between 200 and 250 workers.

A spokesman for 3M Shipping, which is representing Palumbo in Malta, said the Italian company was not in a position to comment at this stage pending Parliamentary approval.

Former Malta Shipyards workers who took the early retirement schemes are expected to apply for the jobs offered by the new owners.

A worker in his early 40s, who preferred to remain anonymous, said he wanted a job. "The money we took with the early retirement schemes was good but it will not last. I want a job because it gives you stability and dignity," the father of two said.

The Cospicua shipyard was sold for €90.6 million on a 30-year concession. After inflation was taken into account, the agreement translated into an equivalent value of €52.7 million if paid out today. Palumbo would be paying €18 million upfront followed by €72.6 million in rent over 30 years.

In the privatisation deal, the government did not include a condition on the number of workers Palumbo had to employ because the company wanted to start operations on a clean slate. It is obliged to give all former shipyard workers the right to be interviewed for a job but has no obligation to employ them all or at all.

Vacancy adverts by Palumbo Malta Shipyard Ltd appeared in the press over the past few days "for staff to be recruited in the ship repair field". The address quoted in the advert is that of the company's Maltese representatives headquartered in Palazzo Stagno, Qormi.

Prospective employees have to send their CV via e-mail to [email protected].

More stories from The Times in News section.

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