Government schoolteachers will strike on Thursday and Friday over plans to reopen schools amid a new spike of Covid-19 cases.
The news came after the Malta Union of Teachers held talks with Prime Minister Robert Abela on Wednesday evening. An industrial dispute was registered after no agreement was reached.
The MUT said all its members at primary, secondary, university and kindergarten will not turn up for work.
Both teachers’ unions, as well as the Opposition had warned against the reopening of state schools. They claimed the government was ignoring advice to keep schools closed for the time being. This was denied on Wednesday afternoon by Health Superintendent Charmaine Gauci.
Private and Church schools have postponed their reopening and will be doing online lessons for the time being.
MUT President Marco Bonnici said the union had met briefly with Prime Minister Robert Abela, Education Minister Justyne Caruana and with the health authorities.
The union again insisted that, due to current circumstances, schools should remain closed at least until the end of the week and lessons should be held online.
Bonnici said independent and Church schools had agreed to remain closed, but this led to a situation of “discrimination” because the Prime Minister refused to allow state schools to do the same. “This is unacceptable. If there are risks, there are risks for everyone,” Bonnici argued.
He reiterated that the education authorities had been advised against the reopening of schools. In view of the situation, he said, “we cannot go on as if it was business as usual.”
Meanwhile, Opposition Leader Bernard Grech said that due to PM Abela’s incompetency, lack of planning and insensitivity, many students, parents and educators are left confused on what’s going to happen on the eve of the planned reopening of schools.
“Just as when he told us that waves are in the sea, the Prime Minister is acting as if it were nothing,” he added.
Grech accused Abela of “playing wih the health of children and educators.”
“I’m following the developments related to the opening of schools and I’ve made contact with the MUT as well as the Union of Professional Edcuators to listen to their concerns regarding such a situation,” Grech said.
Inbidel il-Ministru tal-Edukazzjoni, imma l-attitudni tal-Gvern ma tinbidilx. Dan hu tort tal-inkompetenza u l-arroganza…