Teachers’ union objects to setting up of MCAST Ombudsman’s office, questions its autonomy

Malta Union of Teachers said any lecturers who turn to newly set up MCAST Obudsman’s office could risk disciplinary procedures, due to lack of autonomy

The Malta Union of Teachers has called into question the autonomy of the newly set up Ombudsman's office at MCAST
The Malta Union of Teachers has called into question the autonomy of the newly set up Ombudsman's office at MCAST

The Malta Union of Teachers has objected to the newly set up Ombudsman’s office at MCAST, calling into question its independence and autonomy when it comes to investigating grievances.

Earlier this week, MCAST informed its employees and students that it had created an Ombudsman’s office, the objective of which was to “ensure staff and students have a platform where they can address their grievances and complaints”.

The MUT, however, quickly opposed this, highlighting that the person occupying the new role of ombudsman was not only a member of the college administration, but also an MCAST employee, and consequently couldn't be independent.

The teachers’ union said that the ombudsman would not be able to decide on cases brought before him in a “serene” manner, and that his lack of autonomy “went against the spirit and objective” of such a role.

“The fact that the ombudsman MCAST appointed is a high ranking official in its administration clearly shows that no college employee can have faith in this office, when anything said can be used by the same office against that individual,” MUT said.

“This conflict can even lead to disciplinary action being taken against anyone who presents a case to the ombudsman, and could even result in that person's termination of employment,” it emphasised.

It said MCAST's administration had justified the creation of the office by saying that the college's governance board could do whatever it pleased.

“The MUT believes that this attitude towards our legitimate objection, as well as the hasty decision taken by the college, does not augur well for MCAST,” the union said, adding that it was instructing its members not to cooperate with the Ombudsman’s office.

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