[WATCH] Education minister warns teachers union: No negotiations until you stop industrial action

During a press conference, government also outlined its contingency plan should the Malta Union of Teachers proceed with its industrial action on Monday

Education Minister Clifton Grima (Photo: James Bianchi/MaltaToday)
Education Minister Clifton Grima (Photo: James Bianchi/MaltaToday)

Government will not continue negotiations with the Malta Union of Teachers (MUT) until the union suspends its industrial actions.

This was announced by Education Minister Clifton Grima who addressed the media and gave updates on the ongoing negotiations.

The government and the MUT are locked in a dispute after sectoral agreement talks failed.

No details have yet emerged in public on the union’s demands and the government’s proposal.

The MUT has ordered industrial action that has led to the cancellation of meetings with parents, including IEP meetings for children with particular needs, and no keeping of school attendance, among others. A full-day strike is also planned for 27 November.

Despite suspending negotiations, Minister Grima said that government is still open to negotiations, but only if MUT ceases its industrial action. During the press conference, Grima stated that negotiations were ongoing as recently as this week. Responding to MaltaToday, Grima stated that the financial package is still the biggest hurdle for negotiations.

Grima reiterated government's dedication to ensuring quality education for students. The minister appealed for a calm negotiation process.

What will happen during MUT's strike on 27 November?

During Thursday's press conference, the Education Ministry's Permanent Secretary, Matthew Vella highlighted government's contingency plan should the MUT carry on with its industrial action next Monday.

On the day of the industrial action, children can still be sent to schools, as these will only offer supervision services to students. Students who do not attend school will be excused and will not need to present notes or medical certificates.

Vella stated that schools will not be offering transport services, as the Breakfast Club and Klabb 3-16 services will also not be available. 

Meanwhile, a number of schools will not offer any services. These include the learning support centres in Naxxar, Fortini, Gżira, Bormla and Ħamrun. The Naxxar Higher Secondary, Gozo Sixth Form, GEM 16+ and the Alternative Learning Programme will also not be offering any services.

Vella added that parents and guardians will be able to reach a call centre should they have any queries. They can do so by calling 25981150, as well as by dialling 153.

The Permanent Secretary stated that the contingency plan was developed according to a risk assessment exercise, and that the scope of this plan is to ensure that students can still go to school in a secure environment.