Staff who worked at a Christmas Village in Ta’ Xbiex have finally been paid, more than a year and a half after the event.

At least eight workers at the month-long festive attraction have been battling for the money they were promised since December 2022.

The mostly non-EU workers had been hired by a subcontracting company, JK Security Services Limited, which provided manpower to the event, marketed as a ‘magical village’.

Marjie Patricia Perez Lopera was among those who received their cheque from the company through the Department of Industrial and Employment Relations (DIER).

“I thought it was a lie when they called to tell me I would receive my money. I was so happy when I realised it was true,” said the 37-year-old.

“I was sure I would never see the money I had worked for,” Perez Lopera said.

The Colombian national said she received the full €900 amount she was owed. 

Times of Malta last year highlighted the plight of eight unpaid workers, who were responsible for constructing the village, maintaining its attractions, manning stands, cleaning and serving refreshments. 

They had no written contract but only had a verbal agreement with JK Security owner Kevin Borg and were promised between €6 and €7 an hour.

Some described working seven days a week, sometimes clocking 15-hour days.

'I was afraid to file a report'

Those who spoke to Times of Malta said they remained unpaid because they feared the consequences of filing a complaint with the government employment law watchdog.

“I was afraid to file a report at the DIER because I had no official contract when I worked at the Christmas Village,” one worker said.

The junior minister responsible for industrial relations, Andy Ellul, confirmed yesterday that the unpaid workers had begun to receive cheques. 

“I am satisfied that the DIER is being effective, and after its investigations regarding these workers, they are being given what they are owed,” Ellul said.   

“The government is committed to offering any resources needed so the DIER remains effective and efficient,” he said. 

The issue of unpaid workers is among a series of instances where third-country nationals have faced low or no pay.

Earlier this week, 345 food couriers working for agencies that supply Bolt went on strike, saying they were earning €3 an hour after the platform slashed their weekend bonus.

Independent journalism costs money. Support Times of Malta for the price of a coffee.

Support Us