[WATCH] Steward workers receiving unfair salary should be absorbed into public service - UĦM

Union Ħaddiema Magħqudin says Steward Health Care workers who are being paid less than government employees for the same job should be absorbed into public service

Steward Health Care workers should be absorbed within the public service, UĦM boss Josef Vella said
Steward Health Care workers should be absorbed within the public service, UĦM boss Josef Vella said

Hospital workers employed by Steward Health Care, who are being paid less than government employees for doing the same work, should be absorbed into the public service, the Union Ħaddiema Magħqudin has said.

UĦM head Josef Vella said the Prime Minister should listen to and understand Steward workers who feel angry because they are being treated differently.

Vella, who was speaking in an interview posted on Facebook, said that the government should also consider only entrusting Steward with carrying out certain services - such as building the hospital and supplying machinery - and should not give them the responsibility of managing staff and patients.

He added the demands for more money from Steward “made no sense” since despite being given €377 million in tax payer’s funds, there were no results to speak of to date.

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Such responsibilities should remain the government’s Vella said, underlining that Malta’s public sector resources were sufficient to offer the best health service.

Steward, a US-based company, had acquired a 30-year concession to run St Luke’s, Karin Grech and Gozo General hospitals from Vitals Healthcare Group, for an undisclosed sum. Malta is Steward’s first international expansion.

“Till now, Steward have been given €377 million, of which €184 were for salaries. But, I should say that government workers and Steward workers are not paid the same for doing the same job. €193 million went for other expenses - and we’ve not seen any fruit out of this money, expect a small result in Gozo (Barts Medical School), which they said €35 million. According to our calculations, it could not have cost more than €6 million,” Vella said.

“The UHM was always clear on the issue. We were the only union which never signed a contract with the government on this deal, not because the UHM wan’t to object and refused to collaborate, but because the explanations we were given did not make sense, or else we were not given any explanations. And one can understand this now, because workers are coming to us complaining that they are not being paid the same as government workers who are doing the same work - this might be the reason why all the information wasn’t forthcoming.”

“We will reiterate that we don’t intend to sign a contract with the government in such a situation before we are told what we are signing in the name of workers. We have the responsibility of explaining to our members what we are signing, but if you are signing empty papers, you cannot do this,” he said.

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