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Disappointment Looms over Education Agreement – UPE queries legitimacy of the voting process

On 24th May 2024, the State and the MUT agreed on the text and financials of the sectoral agreement without obtaining consent from the majority of educators concerned not least MUT members themselves.

Subsequent to this preliminary agreement, the MUT presented an abbreviated version of the salient points via PowerPoint at De La Salle College to its members. This presentation was later criticised for the inadequate financial package and lack of information regarding the actual working conditions to which the proposed agreement was beign tied. This led the MUT to withdraw the planned vote on the said agreement before the MEPs election, informing its members that it would attempt to renegotiate. However, the MUT made it clear from the outset that significant changes were unlikely. 

“However, the MUT made it clear from the outset that significant changes were unlikely.”

In recent days, the same PowerPoint presentation was reused with minor, insignificant changes and presented once again to members. This happened at a time when educators had already finished the school term and where on the eve of commencing their Summer recess. The process continued as planned, despite several objections from MUT members. The voting process began on Thursday, 4th July, and is scheduled to conclude tonight. The MUT did not opt for an in-person vote, allegedly to avoid revealing its actual membership numbers. 

“The MUT did not opt for an in-person vote, allegedly to avoid revealing its actual membership numbers.”

To date, it is unclear how many eligible voters have been granted the right to vote. Regrettably, the vote is expected to proceed without members being fully informed about the agreement’s contents and details, as only a PowerPoint presentation has been shown, with very few members having seen the entire text. Most probably, this evening, the MUT will announce the result of the voting, declaring that the majority of voters have voted in favour of the agreement. Meanwhile the vast majority of educators remain completely oblivious to the nitty-gritty of the agreement for which approval is being sought. 

“Meanwhile the vast majority of educators remain completely oblivious to the nitty-gritty of the agreement for which approval is being sought.”

On the brink of another disappointing episode in the history of education, the UPE continues to query the legitimacy of the whole process. 

In this light the UPE reiterates its serious misigivings and continues to ask:

  1. Have the education authorities ascertained that the MUT truly represents the majority of educators?
  2. Have the education authorities ascertained that educators are making an informed choice when sight of the actual text of the agreement has been restricted?
  3. In the event of a low vote turn-out, one way below 50% + 1 of the effected educators, how can the education authorities legitimately enforce the collective agreement if they did not firstly ascertain the MUT’s majority? 
  4. Can an absolute minority of workers ratify working conditions for all of their colleagues?

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