A meeting at the Ministry of Education concerning the upcoming negotiations for the next collective agreement has stirred the proverbial pot.
Circular PS 09/2022 – Jibdew in-Negozjati għall-Ftehim Settorali Ġdid has shown total disregard of the present industrial climate.
The UPE is at this time engaged in formalising the recognition process through the Industrial Tribunal, and the timing of this meeting has raised a few eyebrows.
According to Ministry officials it was called ad-hoc. If this were really the case, why was a circular sent to all staff working at the Ministry? Such a move creates the suspicion that it was an attempt to damage the status of the UPE.
The identity of the Ministry official behind the meeting remains unclear to us and such a ‘chinless’ person can only add to the suspicion that such actions have been undertaken in bad faith.
There are many unanswered questions and we truly believe that the Ministry needs to understand the gravity of playing with fire.
The current situation is this — the UPE has been compelled to take the Ministry of Education to the Industrial Tribunal in order to have it formally understood that UPE represents the majority of LSEs employed by the State, even though in a court sitting on 13 October 2022, it was declared that the UPE has more than 50%+1 of LSEs working in State Schools.
Our democracy is based on the will of the majority, a majority that must be heard if we are to uphold our nation’s democratic principles.
The UPE must and will be negotiating on behalf of LSEs to improve their conditions of work and financial situation, a far cry from the past when they were always forgotten in agreements engineered by the MUT.
Our perseverance will remain strong and we will deliver as we have promised consistently over the past year.
The UPE has issued a trade dispute as a result of the Ministry’s circular.