MUT warns it will only attend conciliatory talks if government presents new pay proposal

The Malta Union of Teachers claims overwhelming support from educators for school directives on first day of industrial action • Parties to meet again this week

The MUT claims overwhleming support for its directives on first day of industrial action
The MUT claims overwhleming support for its directives on first day of industrial action

Updated at 4:35pm with MUT statement

The Malta Union of Teachers has claimed “overwhelming support” for its directives to educators on the first day of industrial action over failed collective agreement talks.

The union said all State and church schools are adhering with its directives and warned it will only attend conciliatory talks if government presents an “updated financial proposal”.

Educators started industrial action on Monday morning. This led to the cancellation of parents days, IEP meetings and students’ attendance was not recorded.

“MUT thanks educators for this collective action whilst it shall continue to support members during these industrial actions,” the union said in a statement on Monday afternoon.

MUT officials held the first conciliation meeting with the government on Monday during which both sides outlined their respective positions.

“The union is not ready to waste time in such discussions unless the government is willing to provide an updated financial proposal,” the MUT said in its statement.

The meeting was adjourned to another date later this week but no more detail was given.

Industrial action hits schools

The union issued a raft of directives to its members last week after it announced an industrial dispute over stalled collective agreement talks. It also ordered a one-day strike on 27 November.

Educators are also refraining from carrying out work on assessments, not submitting student attendances, not using communication books, holding no meetings with parents, refraining from all external communication, including Teams and MySchool, and performing no work related to audits and reviews.

Last Friday the union said it was dissatisfied with the financial proposals put forward by the Education Ministry for improved pay packets for educators. Talks on a new collective agreement have been going on for nine months. No details have emerged so far.

The MUT said the proposals tabled by the government were a far cry from the “substantial increases” that were promised in the Labour Party’s election manifesto and reiterated after the election.

The directives issued by the union are applicable to kindergarten educators, education officers, heads of departments, teachers, learning support educators, assistant heads, heads of school, trainer, MAV centre administrators, LSC coordinators and technician grades. The directives are applicable to supply or regular workers in State and Church schools.

Meanwhile, speaking in parliament earlier on Monday, Education Minister Clifton Grima struck a conciliatory note as he warned against verbal abuse of educators as a result of the industrial action.

He briefly addressed the issue during the debate on the budget estimates for the education ministry, insisting government was committed to ensure educators receive a pay packet that respected the work and sacrifices they did.

Grima insisted government had no issue with the MUT and will strive to reach an agreement.