The Malta Independent 15 June 2024, Saturday
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MEA calls for suspension of collective bargaining talks for teachers till after elections

Saturday, 18 May 2024, 17:57 Last update: about 28 days ago

The Malta Employers’ Association on Saturday called for government and the MUT to suspend negotiations for a revised collective agreement in the education sector till after the elections.

The government and the MUT have been at loggerheads for months, with the union issuing an ultimatum which expires on Friday.

The association, for years, has contended that collective bargaining negotiations in the public sector should never occur closer than three months before an election. The party in government will be in a much weaker bargaining position  to negotiate when in election mode.

It may also use the outcome for pre-election propaganda, the statement said. The collective agreement for the education sector is very sensitive as, besides being an essential service, it also has severe repercussions on educational institutions in the private sector where there are thousands of students. It can also impact relativites with other professions in the public sector and cause further industrial unrest.

The association underscored that there is general consensus that educators deserve adequate remuneration for the critical services that they provide, but it would be in the interest of both sides of the table to conduct negotiations with cool heads, and the period during an electoral campaign is definitely not an ideal setting for both the union and government to arrive at an equitable solution.

The MEA said that collective bargaining should never be weaponised by either unions or government, as this could have a long term destabilising effect on the labour market. 

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