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UPE Articles

Trade Dispute in Response to Circular DG DES 14/2024

The Union of Professional Educators has received information that the Directorate for Educational Services (DES) has issued Circular DG DES 14/2024, which is deemed as inappropriate, unlawful, and contrary to the recent judgment by Honorable Justice Henri Mizzi dated 11th March 2024 – Rikors Nru. 379/2024.

The UPE wishes to remind everyone that they emerged victorious in a significant legal battle that upheld the Union’s right to issue directives.

The Ministry of Education’s application for a prohibitory injunction was based on the following grounds:

“Il-Union of Professional Educators (“UPE”) tat numru ta’ direttivi lill-membri tagħha, edukaturi fis-settur pubbliku magħrufa bħala Learning Support Educators (“LSEs”) u għarrafhom lid-Dipartiment bihom.Id-Dipartiment għas-Servizzi Edukattivi (id-“Dipartiment”) jgħid li dawk id-direttivi huma illegali għaliex l- unika union rikonoxxuta skont il-liġi biex tirrappreżenta lill-edukaturi fis-settur pubbliku, inklużi l-LSEs, hi l-Malta Union of Teachers (“MUT”), u hi biss dik il-union li tista’, bil-liġi, tintervjeni mad-Dipartiment biex jitħarsu d-drittijiet tal- LSEs.

The Ministry’s legal representative argued the following:

“…tieni parti tal-ordni mitluba, dik li fiha id-Dipartiment qed jitlob li l-UPE titwaqqaf milli ‘tagħti direttivi ġodda fuq materji kollettivi, u/jew b’xi mod kollettiv relatat mal-impjegati membri tagħha li jaħdmu mal-iskejjel statali’.”

Additionally, the circular referenced Article 5 of CAP 452.112 Meanwhile, Honorable Justice Henri Mizzi firmly stated the following:

“Din hi kwistjoni ta’ interpretazzjoni li għad trid tiġi mistħarrġa. Li hemm dawn it- tifsiriet possibbli tar-regolament 5 ifisser li, għall-finijiet ta’ dawn il-proċeduri, il- każ tad-Dipartiment ma jistax jirnexxi. 

Ir-rikors hu, għal dawn ir-raġunijiet, miċħud. L-ispejjeż iħallashom id-Dipartiment.”

The court’s ruling was clear! 

Such circulars are designed to intimidate and create confusion among individuals.

The UPE emphasizes that individual directives are unnecessary as trade union membership is safeguarded under GDPR regulations as a special category of data.

Processing of Special Categories of Personal Data

The special categories of personal data, as outlined in the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), include:

– Personal data revealing racial or ethnic origin

– Political opinion

– Religious or philosophical beliefs

– Trade union memberships

– Genetic and biometric data processed for uniquely identifying a person

– Data concerning health

– Data concerning a person’s sex life or sexual orientation

Therefore, the UPE kindly requests members to disregard such circulars and to report any communications demanding personal directives from the SMT to the union by email at gsansone@upe.mt

Moreover Maltese Industrial Law does not require any worker following a trade union directive to disclose his/her affiliation to the issuing union. Anything contrary is considered as an act of intimidation in civilised and democratic countries.

SMT members requesting such data in their personal capacity will be reported to the appropriate authorities and held personally accountable.

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