Updated | MUT issues directives to non-academic staff after negotiations on new agreement fail

The union said that a lack of appreciation of the staff’s importance was resulting in a shortage of practitioners that was affecting schools’ ability to offer good services to their students

The MUT said the directives are to come into force on Monday 22 July
The MUT said the directives are to come into force on Monday 22 July

The Malta Union of Teachers (MUT) has issued a set of directives to Student Services Grade workers in both state and church schools, after negotiations over a new agreement failed.

In a statement on Friday, the MUT said that the directives were being issued after it gave the Education Ministry an ultimatum and a declaration of a trade dispute.

“The Ministry is failing to recognise the importance of these grades even though these practitioners are resigning from their posts and there is a serious shortage which is affecting the service to students whereby schools have a minimum of personnel to address the growing needs of such services to students,” the MUT said. 

It added that the directives had been issued following 12 months of talks on a new agreement for these grades of practitioners, which include Counsellors, Career Advisors, Youth Workers and Resource Workers

The MUT said the directives are to come into force on Monday 22 July, “as repeated attempts to reach an agreement with the Ministry for Education and Employment have failed”.

The directives issued by the union to its members are:

  • No work on My Journey project
  • No submission of annual and other reports
  • No submission of forecast
  • No answering of emails from management
  • No answering of telephone calls from management
  • No communication with management
  • No attendance to meetings organised by management
  • No new referrals to be accepted
  • No walk-in services to be accepted

Ministry calls on MUT to reconsider directives

In a reaction, the Education Ministry accused the union of again taking actions to the detriment of students, while urging it to reconsider the directives and seek an agreement.

“After issuing directives to stop teachers from teaching applied subjects and to cancel Maths and Maltese exams, MUT is now issuing a directive and new actions that will impact children and students that are using the services of counsellors, career advisors, youth workers and resource workers among others,” the ministry said in a statement.

It noted that the union had not excepted proposals put forward by the ministry on a new and improved financial package. It said that under the ministry’s proposal these practitioners would be able to benefit from advances in their career earlier than they would under the MUT’s proposal.

The ministry said that through the latest directives, a number of services that needed by students were being affected. “Serious cases of abuse, suicide, cases of a psychological and emotional nature, won’t be addressed by counsellors and therefore students won’t receive the necessary support”.   

The directives, the ministry said, would also affect services offered to babies and children below the age of five that have a disability, as well as appointments offered to students in summer.

Services offered to students to help them selecting their subjects for the new scholastic year would also be impacted, the ministry said.

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