The Malta Independent 13 November 2019, Wednesday

Updated: UPE accuses MUT and Education Department of plotting against it

Giulia Magri Saturday, 19 October 2019, 10:16 Last update: about 24 days ago

Union of Professional Educators (UPE) is accusing that the Malta Union for Teachers (MUT) and the Education Department of plotting against LSEs to not give them what they deserve.

“It is a disgrace that a ‘union’ that is supposedly meant to defend the rights of their workers and the Ministry for Education and Employment, which is run by Minister Bartolo who enjoys portraying himself as ‘socialist’ come together against educators, educators who wish to cease the abuse they receive from the minister and his ministry,” UPE said in a statement.

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UPE highlighted how the MUT had lost the support of educators as it tries to maintain its privilege, and that MUT had levelled false accusations that UPE directives are illegal.

The UPE insisted that it has every right to defend its members with the necessary directives and everything else which the law has registered the union.

“UPE will not let its members be intimidated or mislead by others. (…) If MUT is a serious union, it too would support UPE and not merge with the Education Ministry to abuse educators.”

UPE stressed that its directives are legal and that it is open to challenge the MUT on its false allegations before the law.

Only MUT can issue directives to educators - Bartolo

The Malta Union for Teachers (MUT) is the only recognised union in the education sector able to issue directives, Education Minister Evarist Bartolo said when asked about directives issued Thursday by another teachers’ union – the Union for Profession Educators (UPE).

“The MUT is the only recognised union in this sector, so therefore they are the only ones who can issue directives,” the Education Minister put simply. On Thursday afternoon, the UPE issued a number of directives for their members to follow, as issues related to “salary injustices” and overtime persist, which the government continues to “shrug off”.

The directives include that Learning support educators (LSEs), Kindergarten Educators (KGEs) and teachers who are members of UPE are not to attend or carry out any work on Iwork on Individual Education Programme’s (IPE). In addition, LSEs who are members of UPE are not to work on adaptations and are not to carry out and document observations in schools.

The executive head of UPE, Graham Sansone had highlighted that the Ministry of Education and Employment is taking advantage of educators on a number of issues. He said that directives will only be lifted once the Education Ministry started to address these issues, and that come Monday, additional directives addressing school transport, would be announced.

It was reported that The Malta Union of Teachers had labelled the directives issued by UPE are illegal. MUT warned their members that directives issued by other unions in the education sector are illegal, and that only MUT have the legal basis to assist whoever follows illegal directives and when the employer takes disciplinary action. UPE followed on MUT’s statement, saying that its claims were unfounded allegations. “The MUT should know that we are a registered union as much as MUT is,” UPE said in their statement. The statement continues to say that MUT was displeased that many educators chose to trust UPE over MUT and that its directives were legal. 

MUT reply

In reply, the MUT said it is focused on its work in safeguarding the interest of its members in all sectors of the education stream and shall not waste time on an unrecognised union whose aim is to destabilise the work being carried out.

The MUT affirmed that UPE, as an entity "without any ethics, vision, and direction" is using educators as pawns in the most irresponsible way by exposing them to possible disciplinary proceedings through its illegal collective directives.

The MUT reaffirmed that the transport supervision issues have been concluded before UPE even noticed that there was a problem whilst the LSE anomaly issue emerging from amendments in the Public Service Management Code is being discussed with the Ministry for Education and Employment.

The MUT said it is committed to solve all issues to the satisfaction of affected educators.

 

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