Just hours before the Malta Union of Teachers had planned to stage a two-day strike involving their members at MCAST, the MCAST authorities filed a request for a warrant of a prohibitory injuction against the MUT to halt the strikes and other industrial actions ordered by the MUT.
MUT president Marco Bonnici said they would now have to suspend their actions till next week when their injunction case can be heard. In a press conference outside MCAST this morning, he said that “this is a clear manifestation that MCAST is trying to silence us and obstruct the union’s legitimate work in the interest of its members.”
“Moreover,” he continued, “such unprecedented action provides the worst possible message to both educators and students who value freedom of association and representation.”
Calling MCAST’s reasoning behind the injunction “just excuses”, he said that MUT remained committed to taking all the necessary action to ensure the interests of its members are respected.
“We are not going to be intimidated by this court order. It is not going to silence us and this is not a threat just to MUT but also a threat to all unions,” Bonnici said.
“We are not being greedy with our demands. MCAST educators want the same treatment as Junior College teachers. MCAST has now advanced to teaching up to level 7 (masters) and the conditions of such educators are not reflecting this,” he continued.
This comes just a day after Communications Director Pablo Micallef told Lovin Malta that MCAST was being “held at ransom.”
In a statement, MCAST said that “we understand and appreciate the right to resort to industrial action, MCAST feels that such actions cannot take place during ongoing negotiations particularly when such meetings registered significant progress towards reaching a final agreement. MCAST strongly believes that these directives are abusive and illegal and in contradiction of the collective agreement provisions, particularly clause 46.1.”
They also touched upon some issues that students themselves had brought up, about the impact on the quality of education that the actions are having.
“These industrial action are being carried out during exams period, directly disrupting the college’s operations and worst of all, the students’ exams preparations. It is the duty of the management and the Board of Governors to safeguard the students’ interests especially when such actions are unfairly targeting them,” it continued.