Around 700 health professionals across Malta and Gozo have launched industrial action after continued delays to recognise them as a UHM member and grant them a new collective agreement, Lovin Malta has been informed.
Allied Health Professionals is made up of a 1000-strong group of podiatrists, biomedical scientists, speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, radiographers, physiotherapists, audiologists, dental hygienists, and dental technologists.
Despite undergoing all the necessary bureaucracy to see to it that the group falls under the UHM umbrella, the Department of Employee and Industrial Relations and the government’s public sector office are yet to issue a decision on their application.
A 28-day legal limit to make a decision expired close to two weeks ago.
The lack of recognition means that negotiations for a collective agreement, which was meant to be up for review two years ago and simply does not reflect current realities, are yet to open.
A series of directives have now been issued across all sectors in every state hospital, health centre, community service, and school around the islands.
Telephone, emails, and messages will not be replied to by the staff; while high-risk community patients will only be seen at Mater Dei hospital.
Routine appointments, the scheduling of new appointments, and paperwork, whether that’s from the podiatrists to occupational therapists, will not be completed, unless the case is considered high-risk.
The radiography department, who notably oversee X-rays and MRI scans, will be limited in health centres and outpatients.
It should be noted that the specifics of each directive do vary from one profession to another, given the diverse nature of the group. However, one certain commonality is the request for the general public to call 2200 0000, the government’s public service office, for further information on the strike.