[WATCH] Teachers union rails at bishops’ deafening silence over Mallia sacking, in Valletta protest

Dominicans sent legal letters to three St Albert staff members who participated in MUT protest in solidarity with Mario Mallia

MUT president Marco Bonnici addresses the press at a demonstration in solidarity with Mario Mallia in Valletta
MUT president Marco Bonnici addresses the press at a demonstration in solidarity with Mario Mallia in Valletta

Malta’s teachers union led dozens of teachers, parents and students in protest at the sacking of Mario Mallia, the head of school of St Albert the Great in Valletta for 16 years.

Around 150 demonstrators gathered in mass applause for Mario Mallia, as the MUT announced trade disputes against the Dominican Order, which runs the Valletta school, and the Catholic Education Secretariat.

MUT president Mario Bonnici praised Mallia’s spirit of leadership, saying he had built a community of teachers and bond of trust in line with the school’s faith ethos.

“The Rector of the school thinks that by removing Mallia, he can change the direction the way this school has been moving in,” Bonnici said, referring to Dominican rector Fr Aaron Zahra. “It is only a small mind, and I refer to Fr Aaron, who believes that this could be achieved, indeed by removing the head of school for futile, inexistent reasons.”

Bonnici said the union will launch industrial action against both the Dominican Order and the Catholic Education Secretariat, the Maltese archiodocese’s education arm. “Industrial and employment laws are there to be obeyed, and we will get redress for Mallia... and why haven’t our bishops spoken? Where are they? Why this deafening silence,” Bonnici said referring to Archbishop Charles Scicluna and his bishops.

Bonnici even revealed that the Order had threatened three staff members planning to attend the MUT protest, with legal letters. “This is an oppressive way of running a school... Fr Aaron is no educator, he has no warrant, and he does not know how to run a school,” Bonnici said to the applause of demonstrators.

“We have no trust in the rector or the board of unqualified people he has appointed... we will not give them our cooperation. Who will run this school when it reopens in September? The rector has lost everybody’s trust from day one – he has to resign forthwith,” Bonnici said.

“The union condemns the draconian tactics adopted by the pseudo-board, set up by the Rector P. Aaron Zahra within the same Dominican Order, as an oppressive vehicle to fire Mr Mallia,” Bonnici said.

Bonnici accused Zahra of imposing himself as the new Head of School with the blessing of the board. “The MUT is declaring its mistrust in the Rector and all board members and is requesting their resignation or removal from office.”

In a letter to the college, staff members asked for the immediate reinstatement of Mallia as a headmaster, and for him to have all the powers he had reinstated.

They also requested a first meeting with the Provincial of the Maltese Dominican Province, Vince Micallef, in order to discuss the ongoing matters, and called on every member of the Dominican Order “of good faith” to speak up against any injustice. “We appeal to the Archbishop Charles J. Scicluna to act as a mediator in a situation that is disturbing his flock.”