Union says strike action was massive success

The union is reiterating calls for a health assessment of the current pandemic situation and its effect on educators

The Malta Union of Teachers has declared today's strike to be a success, and will now be calling on health and educational authorities to analyse the situation of the pandemic so that educators can return to physical learning with all measures included. 

The union took aim at Education Ministry, which has continuously insisted that schools should open normally despite the pandemic. 

"This clearly shows that educators are not willing to be moved in the dark by an irresponsible Minister when the pandemic situation merits analysis and action, as the health authorities themselves said at yesterday's press conference, so that everyone has the reassurance that schools are safe," the union said in a statement. 

MUT condemned the position taken by the ministry to open schools normally on the argument that online learning is inferior. 

"This discards and insults all efforts made by educators when schools were closed, and after which online learning continued even as schools opened," it said. 

Last night the union said that ministry officials were frantically sourcing personnel to man schools over the span of the strike. In retaliation, the MUT called on its members to refrain from replacing any personnel on strike.

The Union of Professional Educators joined MUT in their strike action and boasted of similar success. It says that the strike action enjoyed a 96.5% success rate, with some schools having only a maximum of nine educators going in for work. 

While school transport is operating as normal, some students were today turned back at school gates due to a lack of educators present.

The union ordered the two-day strike yesterday after government denied a request for online teaching amid a COVID-19 infections spike. According to union president Marco Bonnici, government warned that eachers would not be paid if they opted for online lessons. 

READ ALSO: MUT orders strike after government denies request for online teaching as COVID-19 infections spike

The Education Ministry went on to say that the strike action was "illegitimate", and continued to insist that it received no advice from health authorities to keep schools shut. 

Yesterday the Curia announced that all church schools will be teaching online between 7-8 January, with possible extension until at least 13 January if COVID-19 cases remain high. It said that parents will receive information through their respective schools by Sunday evening, 10 January, on whether it will follow through with the extension.