Nearly 60 per cent of the new fitters put on the Water Services Corporation’s payroll last month are registered voters in Konrad Mizzi’s electoral district.
Although the minister declined to supply this newspaper with a list of localities in which the new fitters are registered to vote, it can be confirmed that nearly 60 of the 100 new fitters recruited so far hail from Fgura, Paola, Gudja and Tarxien.
According to a WSC list of recruits which was seen by The Sunday Times, Fgura and Paola top the list in terms of numbers, with the corporation recruiting 19 fitters from these two localities, both of which are in the fourth district.
The government corporation, which falls within Dr Mizzi’s portfolio, recruited another 11 from Gudja and 10 from Tarxien, also part of Dr Mizzi’s constituency.
The majority of the rest of the new recruits, all men, are from towns close to the minister’s electoral district, with most registered to vote in Żejtun, Għaxaq, Birżebbuġa and Marsascala.
WSC sources said that some of the men had also changed their address to places on the fourth district.
Apart from the fitters carefully selected by the WSC from the alternative register of Jobsplus, which bypassed the need to issue a public call, the corporation has also employed about 20 new fitters in Gozo.
The sources said more were expected to join the corporation in the coming weeks.
Due to Panama, he is trying for the most votes, to force the PM’s hand
Three weeks ago, The Sunday Times of Malta revealed that as the election drew near, the embattled minister involved in the Panama scandal was offering some 150 new jobs at the WSC.
Dr Mizzi subsequently insisted they were needed to replace WSC retirees and hailed from 50 different localities. He said that the cost of the new employees would be neutral by 2018.
The WSC employees who have retired since 2013 were already replaced prior to the latest recruitment. Figures provided by the WSC show that while the corporation had 946 employees in March 2013, the number rose to over 1,000 by the end of last year.
According to a letter sent to the new recruits by the human resources consultant at the WSC, former GWU deputy general secretary Michael Parnis, they will be entitled to a salary of €15,488 a year – swelling the corporation’s wage bill by some €2 million per annum.
Dr Mizzi’s recruitment campaign a few months before the election is said to have irked rival Labour candidates in his district, who see it as a vote mobilisation effort. This newspaper is in-formed that other candidates have complained to the Prime Minister about the “aggressive” tactics used by Dr Mizzi’s electoral campaign team.
“Due to the problems connected to his involvement in the Panama scandal, Dr Mizzi is now trying to make sure he will not only be re-elected but will obtain the highest number of votes in his district,” a member of the committee of the Fgura Labour party club told this newspaper.
“This is the only way he will be able to force the hand of the Prime Minister to nominate him again as a member of his Cabinet if Labour is returned to power,” he said.
Dr Mizzi may not be far from reaching his goal.
According to a recent poll taken in the fourth district, he is still the most popular candidate among Labour voters there.