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MUT’s Online Vote and One-to-One Viewings of the Collective Agreement

Unveiling Transparency and Accountability Concerns 

The Union of Professional Educators (UPE) is following the strategy employed by the negotiating parties in the imminent days for the approval or otherwise of the sectoral agreement.

As anticipated, the MUT has decided to conduct an online vote. This entrusts its administrator with the online voting process and enables it to maintain complete control over the whole procedure, including the outcome. Moreover, the MUT has not yet distributed the agreement proposals to its members and thus they are going to be rushed to make a hasty decision.  

Why is the MUT opting for an online voting system when its own Statute clearly indicates that voting should be carried in person under the oversight of four members? Is it coincidental that the MUT Statute has been removed from the MUT official website?

Online voting affords the administrator the ability to conceal the following: 

1. The total number of eligible voters (signifying the total count of fully paid members, excluding ITS, MCAST, and other non-participating members in the sectoral agreement). 

2. The total number of voters who actively participated. 

3. The total number of voters who cast votes in favour. 

These are three pivotal figures. Let us delve deeper into the employed system: 

In an online voting framework, the administrator typically retains control over the following facets: 

 1. User Management: 

  • Establishing and revoking user accounts.

 2. Ballot Creation: 

  • Constructing and configuring the ballot. 
  • Outlining the available voting options.

 3. Access Control: 

  • Regulating user privileges and roles within the system. 
  • Determining who possesses the authority to view, amend, or erase specific data. 

4. Monitoring and Reporting: 

  • Monitoring voting actions and outcomes in real-time. 
  • Producing reports and analyses concerning voting results. 

5. Configuration Settings: 

  • Tailoring voting parameters such as deadlines, eligibility criteria, etc. 
  • Setting up voting regulations and constraints. 

The administrator assumes a critical role in upholding the integrity, security, and efficiency of the online voting procedure. 

The query arises as to who serves as the MUT’s voting administrator. Moreover, will the administrator be usurping the role of the four members which, according to the MUT’s own statute, should be supervising the voting?

Educators are questioning why the voting mechanism is not conducted in person like as is the case with other unions. 

  • Is the MUT trying to hide the number of members it has by opting for an online voting system? 
  • Has the MUT ever undergone an official verification to ascertain if it genuinely represents the majority of educators in every sector of state employment as it asserts? 
  • Additionally, is it accurate that numerous ‘members’ are not active paying members? Are inactive members to be counted in when the DIER in its verification processes demands proof of payment of membership fees?

These questions will be assuming greater significance in the coming days. The Union is engaged in dialogue with the State as to why the government, as the model employer, is reluctant to disclose the collective agreement to all educators. After all this document will eventually serve as their employment contract. 

The UPE maintains that the State, as model employer, is duty bound to ensure that the conditions of work of its employees are adopted only after they have been accepted by a verified majority. 

It appears that both the Ministry and the MUT desire the prompt signing of the agreement, before the forthcoming MEP elections on the 8th of June 2024. Is this the reason why the MUT is pushing its members to rush into accepting the agreement?

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