During the past week Kunsill Studenti Universitarji (KSU) has received a number of calls and more than 500 complaints regarding the current situation where results are not being published due to the Collective Agreement Industrial Dispute. KSU has tried to contact all stakeholders who are involved in the collective Agreement’s negotiations. However the concerned entities have not come back with any information regarding the stage of the negotiations. The Student body is alarmed, and KSU is concerned.
On the 18th of July 2014, KSU held a press conference at University of Malta Gateway. During this press conference Gayle Lynn Callus, president of KSU stated that students, although not involved in the discussions are the only victims in the current dispute between the Government of Malta, MUT, UMASA and the University of Malta. Besides all this, he stated that the students are the only stakeholders which are not represented around the table of negotiations. Amongst the directives imposed by the mentioned unions there are: to withhold the publication of exam results except those of the final years and also not to attend any meetings.
The President of KSU also stated that not issuing the exam results is affecting many students especially those who cannot finish their application for ERASMUS+ programmes. He also mentioned the fact that the time between when the results are published and the date of the resit exam is decreased, there is not enough time for the students to study. Adding to this he also stated that the this dispute may lead to a situation where the Revision paper is issue after the resit examinations are held.
Ryan Falzon, KSU Education Commissioner, explained how during the past days KSU have received a number of phone calls and hundreds of complaints from both students and parents. They are all worried regarding the current situation. He also stated that although all students are being affected the Education Office has also received a number of complaints which are Faculty specific. Students of the Faculty of Health Sciences cannot continue working on their thesis, as their proposals were not approved by the Ethics Board, fourth year Medicine students cannot apply for the UK Foundation Programme as they are not able to finish their application, Gozitan students will have to rent flats with higher prices and international students who may have a resit will have to buy more expensive airline tickets to come back to Malta.
He also explained, how during the past months KSU took an active role in the Collective Agreement negotiations, although not having a formal place in the discussions of the mentioned document. Amongst the proposals there were that academics salaries are maintained or increased, the deadline of publication of results is according to the amount of ECTS of the subject and the dates of the results, and the creation of a coursework feedback.
Rebecca Micallef, KSU Social Policy Commissioner explained the various press releases issued by the council. She stated that it is unacceptable that students are used as chess pawns. KSU have the support of almost all student organisations and urged all students to unite as one front and safeguard their rights.
Gayle Lynn Callus stated that later that day KSU is going to issue an online application where students can enter the Study Unit of which results were still not received and also add comments how this industrial dispute is affecting them. This online form can be accessed from the following link:
He also stated that KSU will be formally asking all parties involved to be represented in any future talks concerning the collective agreement. Therefore the council will lobby to have a representative around the table of negotiations, as the student is the main stakeholder.
While keeping KSU neutrality, the President urged all stake holders to come with as solution as immediately as possible and stop using the student as a bargaining tool.
After this press conference KSU issued a video where students from the different faculties and student organisations were invited to say their concerns.