In his latest attack on the UPE, the MUT President accused us of opportunistically siding with management after the UPE paid a courtesy visit at St. Albert’s College. Although the UPE has by now become accustomed to the irrational outbursts of the MUT President, his statement warrants a reply as it is characteristically misleading as much as it is deceptive.
First and foremost, the UPE paid a courtesy visit at St. Albert College as it has the students’ education at heart as much as it is concerned with the well being of educators. The UPE reminds the MUT that the situation at St. Albert deteriorated due to the MUT’s mishandling of the Head of School’s dismissal. Instead of limiting itself to supporting the former Head of School through legal avenues, the MUT thought fit of embroiling other staff members in the issue. The result was an escalation of unbridled tension and hostility which could have had much more serious repercussions. However, there are other serious considerations at stake which the MUT President did not speak about.
In this respect the UPE cannot but highlight the following conundrums:
- Why did the MUT try to embroil the whole staff of St. Albert in the case concerning the former Head of School when it never resorted to such action for similar grievances raised by chalkface grades in other schools?
- Why did the MUT register as members of the union Heads of Church Schools when, contrary to their counterparts in the public service, these Heads carry out functions pertaining to employers such as the hiring and firing of employees? For the record, the MUT is registered with the Director of Industrial and Employment Relations as a Trade Union and not as an Employers’ Association.
- Doesn’t the MUT realise that its conduct may have pressurised members of staff to support their former Head of School since, if he is eventually reinstated, he would be in a position to determine their employment at the school? Is this position ethically justified and doesn’t it further compound the MUT’s conflict of interest in the matter?
The UPE is committed to build bridges between all stakeholders without embroiling itself in structural conflicts of interest to the detriment of grassroot educators and students alike. It is for this reason that the UPE does not register as members management grades. Its sole interest is the betterment of conditions of work of the chalkface grades. The same cannot be said of the other union whose top brass agreed to the Learning Outcome Framework which inundated educators with needless paperwork while at the same time signing off their rights via a bad sectoral agreement.
Educators and the general public know full well who consorts with management and who has the welfare of educators and students alike at heart.