The Malta Independent 24 October 2020, Saturday

UPE declares industrial dispute over reopening of schools

Tuesday, 22 September 2020, 15:34 Last update: about 1 month ago

The Union of Professional Educators - Voice of the Workers has declared an industrial dispute against the Ministry for Education and Employment over the reopening of schools, with the union saying that the high number of Covid-19 cases makes this not viable.

In a statement, the UPE said that it is concerned over the various issues, which are primarily revolving around Health and Safety Regulations, Social dialogue and the lack of facilities granted to the Union, and which are impeding reaching prompt reasonable solutions in the current crisis.


“The UPE has stated, time and time again, that it is not viable for schools to open for children in the coming days due to the high numbers of COVID-19 positive cases reported”, the Union said.

“We had also recommended for online lessons to be delivered across the board until the COVID-19 positive cases decrease significantly. The risk of transmission is currently way too high thus putting our members at immediate unreasonable risk. This concern was further confirmed by the Minister of Education and Employment as well as the Prime Minister himself in televised interviews”, the Union said.

Read more: Books, pencil box and masks: How schools will be adapting to the new scholastic year with COVID-19

Malta currently has 678 active cases of the virus.

The Union said that for the aforementioned reasons, it is declaring an industrial dispute.

“The Union will be issuing directives to its members starting from Monday the 28th of September 2020 and will also be instructing its members to be increasingly vigilant of the guidelines issued by Public Health Authorities.”

“Once a breach is noted by our members, the Union is instructing its members to report the breach to the Head of School and leave the classroom setting with immediate effect. Our members will only resume work as per schedule once the breach has been rectified”, the Union said.

They once again called for the Education Ministry to exercise social dialogue since the union has a solution for the above mentioned crisis in hand.

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