Educators offered pay rise less than COLA increase, PN spokesperson claims but ministry says its a 'lie'

PN education spokesperson lambasts government’s ‘miserable’ pay increase offered to educators in collective agreement talks • 

PN education spokesperson Justin Schembri
PN education spokesperson Justin Schembri

Updated at 14:00 with ministry denial  

Government has offered educators pay increases that amount to less than next year’s cost of living adjustment, the Nationalist Party education spokesperson claimed.

Justin Schembri said government’s proposals forwarded to the Malta Union of Teachers were a far cry from the ‘substantial increases’ promised during the election.

“Government has proposed a miserable pay packet with an increase that is less than the COLA increase,” Schembri reiterated on Tuesday during a press conference on the education sector.

The COLA next year will amount to a weekly increase in wages of €12.81, amounting to just over €700 per year.

Reacting to Schembri’s statement, the ministry slammed Schembri’s ‘irresponsible’ statements.

The Opposition MP’s allegation was denied by the government, who said the claim was a “lie”.

“Such untruthful statements do nothing more than show a lack of ethics and respect towards educators at this very delicate moment. Instead of the Opposition showing sensitivity and maturity, it decided to blur figures that are untrue and are far from what was discussed at the negotiating table,” it said.

Schembri did not elaborate and MaltaToday was unable to independently verify the claim but the MUT has ordered industrial action over what it says is a government proposal that falls far short of what had been promised.

On Monday, educators started observing directives issued by the union, including no meetings with parents, no meetings on IEPs, no work on assessments and no student attendance. A one day strike is scheduled for 27 November.

A conciliatory meeting between the MUT and government on Monday was inconclusive and the parties will be meeting again this week.

However, the union warned it will only participate in these meetings if government presented an improved financial proposal.

Schembri hit out at government for being stingy with educators, accusing it of reneging on its electoral promise to substantially improve the work and pay conditions of educators. Schembri was flanked by PN MPs Bernice Bonello and Charles Azzopardi in the press conference.

During last year’s election both major political parties pandered to educators’ vote by promising better pay and improved work conditions.

The sectoral agreement for educators expired last December and talks between the union and the Education Ministry have been going on for nine months.