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UPE Articles

Why Have Educators Been Called to Strike on the 27th November?

The Union of Professional Educators (UPE) aims to dispel a number of misleading articles that have been published.

1. The Malta Union of Teachers (MUT) is only negotiating working conditions and allowances, not the Basic Salary.

2. The Basic Salary will remain unchanged until the end of 2024, as it is a separate agreement between all Trade Unions and the State.

Yesterday, the MUT announced that a strike will occur on the 27th of November, and directives will be issued before that date to maximize disruption. This had been anticipated by the UPE on Wednesday, 8th November, following discussions with insiders from both the Ministry and the MUT, who spoke to the UPE on the condition of anonymity.

“The MUT is only negotiating working conditions and allowances, not the Basic Salary.”

According to information released by the UPE, inside rumors suggest that the MUT has already accepted the financial proposals offered by the State. (Increase in allowances not on basic salary), and that this strike is merely a demonstration of power for the MUT and its President to assert their relevance.

Yesterday UPE officials have discussed and approved the Union’s pre-established strategy for such scenarios.

The UPE is declaring that it will not instruct its members to comply with the directives issued by the MUT and will not partake in the strike scheduled for the 27th of November 2023. For the Union, the 27th of November will be business as usual.

Clearly, an explanation is expected for the Union’s decision, and here are the reasons: 

Can the MUT leadership specifically explain why educators need to strike? The MUT has not furnished any of its council members, just as in 2017, or the working groups within MUT, with a copy of the discussed text. Hence, no one knows the reason for the strike. Is it over €50, €100, or €1000 yearly allowance?

What issues during negotiations have not been agreed upon? It appears that the government is satisfied with the proposed text and financial package. Can the MUT leadership clarify what the government has proposed and what the MUT expected?

Can the MUT reassure us that no further reforms will be introduced after the agreement? This concern arises from numerous reforms introduced after the 2017 agreement through side agreements with the MUT without the knowledge of their members.

The UPE desires for educators to exercise critical thinking, as educators have a responsibility to seek further clarification. One cannot blindly follow self-centered leaders into losing a day’s salary without knowing the exact reason for the strike.

“…the UPE will issue directives for the 27th November to ensure that educators present at school will not be overwhelmed.”

As always, the lack of transparency is the main challenge for the MUT, and this is also acknowledged from within. Evidently, there is a leadership problem, as during negotiations, a vice president quietly resigned, leaving the role vacant. Additionally, the position of secretary general is currently vacant, with only an assistant secretary general appointed. This indicates a state of disarray in the leadership.

The UPE also wishes to highlight that the MUT and Government are presently negotiating an illegitimate agreement, as the UPE holds the majority of Learning Support Educators (LSEs) and should be the party negotiating on their behalf. The UPE reserves the right not to acknowledge any agreed-upon text related to the conditions of work for LSEs.

In conclusion, the UPE will issue directives for the 27th November to ensure that educators present at school will not be overwhelmed.

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