Fabian Demicoli

GRTU meets: Dr Frank Weise German Federal Employment Agency

 GRTU's Executive council, yesterday met Dr.Frank Weise, Chairman of the Managing Board of the Federal Employment Agency. The German Federal Employment Agency is the labour market's biggest service provider in Germany.

 

GRTU's Director General explained the role of the GRTU and what kind of enterprises does the GRTU represent especially in relation to their size and employment. He also explained how GRTU is involved in employment related fora both at national and EU level. Mr Farrugia emphasised on the importance for Malta to build on good quality labour not only in terms of productivity and flexibility but also in terms of training and trainability. He also pointed out that the employment within the enterprises GRTU represents withstood the crises so far as the smaller employers are less keen on putting off people.

GRTU members today are finding it difficult to find people in employment that are skilled in a certain area such as qualified renewable energy equipment installers and this happened before in the pharmaceutical sector.

Claudio Farrugia stated that the ETC opened courses in the financial services sector and these where overbooked 3 fold. The Director General said that this shows how keen the young generation is of doing something that is not traditional but the emerging, the one with more potential and well paid. He also said that Germany is more attune with the requirements of the market and the general economy, this is something Malta has a lot to learn from.

Dr Frank Weise stated that Germany has the same pattern of SMEs being the largest employers. Mr Weise and his colleague were surprised that at the hotel where they are staying almost every person they encountered that worked there speaks basic German.

Mr Farrugia mentioned what a problem we have in Malta is of business succession. Mr Weise said that when a  company is   passed to the next generation they are given 10 years tax free in order to encourage business succession.

Dr Frank Weise stated that in Germany there is less than 3 million unemployed people. He also mentioned 3 main reasons that would describe two thirds of the unemployed: no school qualifications, no work qualification and they are over 50.  He also pointed out that something that is not being done right in Germany is that companies they lay off people over 50 to keep the youngest ones and then spend a lot of money in retirement schemes.  The German Government is encouraging people to work longer and will be necessitating more years of work to be able to have a pension.

Marcel Mizzi GRTU Council Member and President of the IT Sector stressed that Malta is doing a lot of work in IT when it comes to education but we need to do much more as the industry needs more specialised skills which will need more time.

Noel Gauci GRTU Council Member and President of the GRTU Renewable Energy Sector pointed out that Renewable energy in Malta is still very young and so it is difficult to find able workers and they would have to train them themselves. Some work has started on this but we need much more as training employees is a problem in the sector which is costly and time consuming. The sector has not felt much mobility of Europeans coming to Malta to work in this sector.

Another point was raised from Philip Fenech GRTU Council Member and President of the GRTU Hospitality and Leisure Sector who said that the schooling in the hospitality industry is very intense and some are over qualified for the sector and the hospitality and leisure industry ends up employing Europeans to make up for this gap. From central eastern Europe mostly.

Road building, waste sector, kitchens and garages also have recruitment problems but these sectors employ 3rd country immigrants. This is not because of the pay but because very few  Maltese are still interested in doing this kind of work.

For GRTU we have nothing against the employment of third country nationals as we do not look at the skin colour, religion, language, etc… We are interested in having people employed to be able to sustain themselves and trained in the work they are doing.

ETC CEO Claudio Farrugia stated that 65% of people who come to train at ETC are already employed and seeking to better their position and these are much more motivated than the unemployed who want to be trained.

Mr Claudio Farrugia also introduced another ETC representative who will be heading a new unit solely to assist the private sector. He also mentioned that a manager has been recruited and her task is to work closely with the GRTU on better responding to SME needs and skill needs.

Dr Frank Weise stated that there is a new law in Germany that following dismissal a person has to go to the German Employment Federation within 3 days otherwise the unemployment benefit will be decreased. He also said that they are also working on early intervention were they work with the still employed but soon to be unemployed.

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