Malta: MUT orders a strike after the government denies their request for online teaching

Information current: 07 January 2021

The COVID 19 outbreak is a public health crisis quite different than anything Europe has faced for many years. As education personnel and their trade unions grapple with the outbreak, we are supporting and informing member organisations in any way we can.

The Malta Union of Teachers (MUT) has called a two-day strike in State schools and most independent schools after its request for teaching to go online in the midst of a COVID-19 peak is turned down by the government.

The union president, Marco Bonnici, stated that a request for teaching to go online until a thorough assessment of the COVID-19 situation is carried out by the health authorities, following a post-holidays spike in cases, was refused by the Prime Minister Robert Abela. The union received the information that teachers would not be paid if they opted for online lessons.

As the education authorities have ignored health advice to keep schools shut given the coronavirus infection peak and following the government's intransigence on the matter, the union called its members in schools that will not be offering online teaching to go on a two-day strike.

The new variant of the COVID-19 virus is said to be spreading faster and may affect children and young people more than its predecessor. Therefore, teachers and other education personnel count among the workers most exposed to the virus.

The strike that started this morning in schools is a great success. This clearly shows that teachers and other education personnel are concerned for their health and that the pandemic situation deserves analysis and action. ETUCE endorses the MUT in their call on the Maltese health and education authorities to immediately analyse the pandemic situation and its effects on education personnel, children and families, in order to put in place appropriate health and safety measures to allow for a safe return to education institutions.

ETUCE continues to support its member organisations, many of whom are likely to face similar struggles in ensuring the health and safety of their affiliates in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.