Monday’s teachers strike will affect University, sixth forms

Following recent developments that teachers across the country will strike on Monday, it has been confirmed that the strikes will also extend to all sixth forms and the University of Malta as well.

Malta Union of Teachers President Marco Bonnici, speaking to journalists on Friday after talks with the Ministry for Education broke down, confirmed that University would also be affected in the planned strikes on Monday.

The decision to strike is following a major conflict on an Education Act which was tabled in Parliament this week by Minister for Education Evarist Bartolo.  The issues revolve around changes to the way teachers warrants are going to work, with proposals for the replacement of permanent warrants with renewable ones, along with grey areas surrounding the granting of the warrants being the main sources of discontent.

The government had advised the MUT this morning that they were ready to remove the proposed Act from Parliament as long as the industrial directives were lifted; but the union took umbrage at the fact that this offer was disclosed to the media by Prime Minister Joseph Muscat whilst negotiations at the ministry were still ongoing.  It was in part due to this, Bonnici said, that the union had walked out of discussions with the ministry.

The Malta Union of Teachers initiated the industrial action, but they have been supported by several other entities within the education sector.  The Union of Professional Educators (UPE) is also supporting the strike, whilst The University of Malta Academic Staff Association (UMASA) expressed its solidarity with the MUT’s actions as well.

In a statement on Friday afternoon, UMASA said that it had “serious” concerns about the proposed act, in particular on “the proposals that teachers’ warrants will no longer be permanent, and the lack of clear parameters on the granting of warrants”.

The association also said that “meaningful Consultation requires that the opinions of stakeholders are taken on board not simply brushed aside.”

Students are encouraged to consult with their faculties and respective faculty organisations to seek more details on which units and courses will be affected by the upcoming strike.