Arriva is advertising in Spain and the UK for at least 200 English-speaking drivers to join its team in Malta.

Asked if this indicated a problem in recruiting or retaining drivers locally, Arriva said it was “committed to ongoing recruitment and training of drivers to replace those on leave, sick leave or to cater for peak public transport usage”.

The Spanish Employment Ministry’s Young Portal is carrying an advert for 200 drivers to work for Arriva Malta from May to November.

Applicants must be able to speak English to a B1 level (lower intermediate).

On the careers section of Arriva Malta’s own website, it states that drivers must be able to communicate in Maltese and English.

Its conditions of carriage state: “Your bus will be driven by a professional driver... able to communicate fluently in the Maltese language and shall have a basic understanding and use of the English language.”

Asked if Arriva was changing its conditions of carriage, a spokesman said: “The conditions of carriage reflect our agreements and contracts with Transport Malta as well as Arriva’s standards.”

The UK government’s job search website is also advertising for English-speaking drivers to work for Arriva Malta from May to November, although this job “could become permanent for the right candidate”. Travel to Malta and accommodation for the first two weeks is paid by the employer, according to the British advert.

The wages in both the British and Spanish adverts are listed as €250 per week for working 40-48 hours weekly.

British applicants are required to have a category D licence (passenger transport), while Spanish candidates need to have had a B (regular vehicle) licence for at least 12 months and are informed that a D licence would be an advantage.

Both adverts promise further training from Arriva Malta.

The bus operator has struggled to repair its reputation since up to 180 drivers walked out on the first day of operations in July 2011.

In an interview with The Sunday Times last December, Arriva Malta managing director Richard Hall said the company was just 30 drivers, or three per cent, short of its requirement.

The six-month period of employment for the drivers recruited abroad will cover Arriva’s summer schedule, which is expected to offer more frequent services than the current winter timetable.

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