Independent school teachers mull move to better-paying state schools

Concerned independent school teachers said many of their colleagues were considering transferring to a state or church school, where teachers’ salaries were on average already better than theirs

A number of concerned independent school educators told MaltaToday that many of their colleagues were actively considering transferring to a state or church school
A number of concerned independent school educators told MaltaToday that many of their colleagues were actively considering transferring to a state or church school

Independent school teachers are up in arms following the agreement reached between the government and the Malta Union of Teachers (MUT) which will see their counterparts in state schools receive a considerable higher salary then they do.

And unless the discrepancy is
 addressed, it could lead to an exodus of teachers from independent schools, MaltaToday has learned.

Under the new agreement, all state and church school teachers’ salaries are set to increase by more than 20%, over a period of five years.

A number of concerned independent school educators told MaltaToday that many of their colleagues were actively considering transferring to a state or church school, where teachers’ salaries were on average already better than theirs – even before the new raise comes into effect.

Janet (not her real name) has been working at an independent school for the last four years and only got a salary increase last summer.

“Last summer I negotiated a raise and agreed to settle for an amount that was approximately €1,000 less per year, than an equivalent teaching grade in state schools,” she said.

“That disparity is likely to grow much larger and I feel that at this juncture in my life, I deserve to have a better wage. Unless the school reviews my salary, I will have no option but to leave.”

Tim*, who currently earns a mere €1,180 net salary per month at an independent school said that though “most are willing to wait and see what happens”, he would definitely consider leaving if the outcome was not favourable.

“I have worked at differing inde- ers are up in arms following the pendent schools for over 20 years agreement reached between the and have always loved my working environment. However, with such a significant wage discrepancy, I feel as though I, as well as my col- leagues, would have no choice but to consider other options,” he said.

Joe Gauci, president of the Independent Schools Association (ISA), confirmed that the matter had raised concern among teachers and parents alike.

Under the new agreement, all state and church school teachers’ salaries are set to increase by more than 20%, over a period of five years.

‘The ISA believes that teachers’ remuneration should be fully reflective of their professional status and of their central role in society,” he told MaltaToday.

He agreed that the extent of the prospective rise in teachers’ remuneration was both very significant and very sudden.

 “This has caused considerable concern among parents of children in all independent schools,” he said. “The ISA is monitoring devel- opments closely and is waiting to see the details of the Government’s agreement with the MUT once these details are divulged to it.”

The ISA is a voluntary organisation composed of San Andrea School, San Anton School, Chiswick House School and St Martin’s College, St Catherine’s High School, St Edward’s College, St Michael School and St Michael Foundation and Thi Lakin School.

When contacted, MUT president Marco Bonnici explained that in- dependent school teachers’ salaries were regulated by agreements that were not linked to those of church and state schools.

He said the MUT would be re- vising the separate school agreements accordingly upon expiry. Discussions have already started, he said, “as throughout the next year there are a number of them which will be expiring.”

Bonnici added that the target used in negotiations was “always the state schools’ model” and future agreements with independent schools would therefore likely reflect this model.

Educators who work at independent schools and who do not form part of a union, have no collective agreement. They would be at the mercy of their employers and any decision regarding wage increases and emoluments would be at the employers’ discretion.

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