January 4, 2018 at 9:36 am
The MUT is hereby issuing a reply to the editorial of The Malta Independent which was published on Wednesday 3rd January entitled “MUT-MCAST dispute – Students worse off”.
It is evident that the said editorial reproduced only the part of the dispute which was convenient to build a biased argument against the legitimate directives of the MUT in an attempt to portray the Union and its members as deliberately targeting students. The Union is hereby reproducing all facts about the said dispute following the failure of TMID to carry out serious reporting of facts.
– The Collective agreement between MCAST and MUT expired in December 2016.
– The dispute was declared on 28th November following MCAST’s lack of adherence to agreed deadlines in which the college had to provide counter proposal for the financials of the Collective Agreement being negotiated. The Union submitted its financial proposals to MCAST several weeks before this date and observed all time-frames of the agreement, including attendance to a meeting scheduled in agreement between both sides for the explicit purpose of receiving these financials. However these were not forthcoming.
– Although the list of directives including the announcement of a one-day strike were issued on 29th November, MCAST agreed to meet the Union to discuss the matter only twelve days after the declaration of the dispute.
– The reactions submitted by MCAST during two meetings held on 11th and 12th December were deemed unacceptable by the Union, but following an understanding on the way forward for the negotiation of proposals in the context of the whole Collective Agreement, the MUT suspended the full-day strike, which was planned for Friday 15th December, as a gesture of goodwill.
– During a meeting scheduled on 14th December, MCAST failed to adhere to the understanding reached two days before for the provision of a revised proposal but instead requested the intervention of DIER for a conciliation meeting.
– The conciliation meeting has been scheduled for Thursday 4th January.
The MUT notes that it is clear that whilst the Union is taking agreements seriously, with all the necessary commitment towards its members, MCAST is instead dragging its feet and finding excuses to refrain from adhering to commitments to the detriment of educators and ultimately students. The MUT deplores the fact that MCAST educators are being demonized for standing up to have adequate working conditions and remuneration. In a comment, MUT President Marco Bonnici has already stated that “I completely understand students’ concerns but I’m sure that they would agree that their lecturers should be respected and be provided with adequate conditions of work.”