[WATCH] Dentists at Mater Dei threaten industrial action unless government consents to talks

Dentists have not had their sectoral agreement updated since 1993

Industrial action by dentists could be escalated unless government updates their sectoral agreement
Industrial action by dentists could be escalated unless government updates their sectoral agreement
[WATCH] Dentists at Mater Dei threaten industrial action unless government consents to talks

Dentists working in the national health service have protested that government has proposed no counter-proposal for a revision to a sectoral agreement negotiated back in 1993.

Union Haddiema Maghqudin CEO Josef Vella said that no update had been carried out for 25 years, despite several collective agreements being made with doctors.

“The UHM has put forth several proposals but the government has come back with no counter-proposal in writing, except for an arrogant verbal proposal suggesting dentists will earn less than they do today… this simply ridicules the process of social dialogue,” Vella said.

UHM secretary-general Josef Vella
UHM secretary-general Josef Vella

Vella said the proposal would reduce dentists’ salaries by €2,000 annually.

“It is the government’s responsibility to see that there is no industrial action and that this tool is used as little as possible. We need to agree on a package that gives dentists dignity, and so I ask government to stop dragging its feet so as not to escalate the situation. We do not want to have to take industrial action but if the government pushes us, we are ready to take action.

“We want the government to stop ignoring these professionals and given them what is theirs by right… yet the situation here is deteriorating,” Vella added.

Vella said that only eight dentists out of 40 graduates had been employed by the State, four of whom have left the national health service. “This shows there is no dentistry plan at Mater Dei Hospital,” Vella said.

The union boss also said that Malta’s dependence on foreign workers was sending out the message that the government does not carry about Maltese families because it is ready to make do with foreign employees. It is a threat to the work that is carried out in the country.”

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