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GWU foundation running scheme for the unemployed ‘has no staff’

Executive director renting foundation office in Ħamrun; contract published

The office of the Community Work Scheme Enterprise Foundation in Parish Priest Muscat Square, Ħamrun. Photos: Steve Zammit Lupi

The office of the Community Work Scheme Enterprise Foundation in Parish Priest Muscat Square, Ħamrun. Photos: Steve Zammit Lupi

The General Workers’ Union insists there are no employees on the books of its newly formed foundation running the government’s jobless scheme.

The GWU set up the Community Work Scheme Enterprise Foundation last February, a few days after securing an agreement with the government to take over the administration of a jobless scheme.

GWU general secretary Josef Bugeja chairs the foundation’s board of governors, made up of Victor Carachi, Kevin Camilleri, Aaron Mifsud Bonnici and Robert Borg.

The statute lays down the foundation should have an executive director and a number of officers to run the scheme, even if the union insists it has no employees.

The union was asked to name the executive director, who owned the office in Ħamrun from which the foundation was operating and where a number of other commercial companies are also registered.

I rented out my property to the union with their full approval

A GWU spokesman replied thus: “The information requested is either a matter of public record verifiable through official registers, to which you presumably have access, or a matter relating to the commercial administration of limited liability companies.”

Research conducted by this newspaper indicates that the office in question is owned by Mr Borg, the member of the board of governors, who is the GWU’s finan-cial controller.

When contacted, Mr Borg confirmed the foundation was renting his personal property. (See contract in pdf link below)

Asked whether the rental could amount to a conflict of interest, Mr Borg said he could see none. “I rented out my property to the union with their full approval. Thus I don’t have any conflict. They needed a place for the foundation, and they decided to rent my property,” Mr Borg said.

When Mr Borg was asked about any connections between the foundation and the other companies registered at the same address, he replied: “I can’t give you that information, as I would be breaching my professional secrecy. You have to ask the GWU about that.”

The Sunday Times of Malta reported that through the scheme run by the foundation, the trade union was receiving €980 a month to employ about 600 jobless individuals in return for their full-time employment, paid at minimum wage rates.

Education Minister Evarist Bartolo defended the scheme and said that it was giving dignity to those who had been registering for work for a long time.

The Opposition accused the government and the GWU of profiteering from vulnerable people.

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