MUMN's reaction to Malta today's article “Union demands over 130 million in allowances, tax and Pension proposals”
t is clear that the confidentiality which the Government and the union were bound to upkeep during the negotiations period of any sectorial agreement is broken by the Government when the same Government issued details to the newspaper of MUMN proposals to Malta Today. Seeing that the Government has broken this confidentiality, then MUMN has no other alternative but to reply to the article issued by Malta Today, today Sunday 12th March with the title “Union demands over 130 million in allowances, tax and pension proposals”.
The first counter proposals presented by the Government, which MUMN branded as “worthless tissue paper”, amounted to just 4 million for the biggest work force in the health sector, being the nurses and the midwives, which work force amounts to more than 4000 professionals.
When MUMN registered an industrial dispute due to the lack of respect shown and MUMN was to initiate directives across the health sector in Malta and Gozo, at a very late hour, the Government came up with another counter proposal which the Government claimed to be “a little bit less than 40 million”. As a sign of good will MUMN had suspended its industrial action.
During the meeting which took place on the 10th March 2023, where the Government presented the new allowances which the Government claimed to be 40 million for the 4400 nurses and midwives, it clearly resulted to MUMN, that the Government “40 Million” would still place all nurses and midwives to be less paid not from the nurses in the UK and Ireland, but less than the other Health Professionals in Malta. Infact MUMN demanded at least another 30 million to evaluate the allowances which hopefully make young people to join the nursing profession and retain the existing nursing work force including the foreign nurses. For this 30 million, the Government has to come up with a reply in the next scheduled meeting which is to take place on the 20th March 2023.
MUMN would like to point out that union has always contested the 130 million which the Government claimed due to the fact that:-
That the majority of nurses and midwives do not work overtime and therefore any calculation is just presumptuous. Not to mention that essential services in the Health Services, such as the surgical operations, depend that nurses having to work overtime so that all operations are performed on the day.
The Pension incentives are also voluntary schemes where the nurses and the midwives will be requested to work till the age of 67 years, which again it would be presumptuous to say all nurses will opt to such a scheme.
The various contracts being proposed in MUMN proposals as to increase the nurses on the wards, are all voluntary schemes for the nurses and midwives and so all calculations are just presumptuous.
This was a clear case where the Government in collusion with Malta Today, produced an article to demotivate or to put MUMN in bad light with the General Public on the sectorial agreement.
If the Government truly wants to address the huge shortage of the nurses and midwives, the salaries and the working conditions must improve as other countries in the EU are doing. Our low salaries are not even enough to retain the foreign nurses working in Malta, who use Malta and the Maltese patients as an interim period for practice and registration, so that such foreign nurses can move on to other countries such as Ireland, UK and even Germany.
MUMN cannot accept that where Steward was involved, money was not a problem and not an issue but where nurses and the midwives are involved, the Government uses the hard hand approach. MUMN encourages the Government to bring back the 350 million from Steward which will be more than adequate for the benefit of the nurses, the midwives and the whole health sector.
One should note that the nurses and the midwives are next to the bedside of the patients and residents while the contract with VGH, resulted in no benefit whatsoever to the patients.
The tactics used against MUMN by Government are tactics which were never used on other unions when other unions achieved pay rise which were classified as significant but were kept secret from public information. Once again, a two weights two measure approach, but rest assured MUMN will keep on striving to achieve a good sectorial agreement both for the nurses' and midwives' interest and also for their patients and residents in the elderly sector.