The UPE has been fighting these past months for the immediate implementation of the Ombudsman’s recommendations contained in his final report.
In a series of meetings with the Education Minister Hon Justyne Caruana and the Permanent Secretary Dr Frank Fabri, the Union was told time and time again that these recommendations cannot be put in place due to Covid-19 measures.
In a nutshell, the UPE has asked the Ministry for free access to all schools in Malta and Gozo in order to meet and discuss daily issues with its members. The Union has pointed out that there is no need for it to give specific reasons for such visits in terms of upholding the confidentiality of its members.
The Ministry has repeatedly used the excuse that no personnel can enter schools and that permission has been denied to all unions as well as NGOs and other personnel. This is certainly not the case based on the evidence that we have. Unfortunately, the Ministry is being less than honest when discussions are held with the UPE. Should the need arise, we are prepared to present such information to dispel the false assertions made by the Ministry, which, it would appear, has applied the ‘two weights, two measures’ policy to the detriment of the UPE.
For this reason, the Union has issued a trade dispute on the grounds of lack of facilities and machinery for the trade union to perform its functions and the failure and resistance on the Ministry’s part to permit the practical implementation of the Ombudsman’s recommendations.
The UPE is considering options for further industrial action within the coming days.