Kunsill Stundenti Universitarji (KSU) has been following closely the industrial dispute between MUT, UMASA, University of Malta and the Government of Malta after unfruitful Collective agreement negotiations. The disagreement centred around the financial package, which according to MUT was “less than the increases given to other public entities”.
Time frame of events:
30th June 2014: MUT and UMASA declared a trade dispute with the University of Malta and Government of Malta as they did not receive any feedback on their proposals regarding the financial package for the collective agreement. According to the lecturers this resulted in a deadlock in negotiations. KSU issued a press release, reiterating what had been stated in 2008, that students should not be used as a bargaining tool. The council has also communicated with both unions, the Ministry for Education and Employment and also with the University of Malta Rector.
1st July 2014: MUT and UMASA have been informed by the Governmnet that a counter offer would be presented by that Thursday, latest Friday. Therefore the mentioned unions have decided to suspend the industrial actions.
3rd July 2014: KSU had an urgent meeting with Hon. Evarist Bartolo, Minister for Education and Employment, during which he assured the council that this dispute will be solved until the day after following the counter proposal given by the Ministry of Finance and PACBU.
4th July 2014: A financial proposal from the University of Malta and the Government was received by MUT and UMASA, in relation to the Collective Agreement negotiations. The received proposals were not satisfying for the Unions as they described them as: “far off from what the Unions expected but is also less than the increases given to other public entities.” The unions re-instituted industrial action in both the University of Malta and Junior College. KSU issued another press release titled “Don’t Trample on our Rights!”, in which it states that students rights should be protected.
5th July 2014: Gayle Lynn Callus, President of KSU called an urgent KE/KPS meeting during which it was agreed that this is an urgent matter and a KE meeting should be called.
7th September: KSU had met with Prof. Juanito Camilleri and Prof. Mary Anne Lauri, the University of Malta Rector and Pro-Rector respectively. During this meeting this issue was discussed. The KSU Education Office called an urgent Kummissjoni Edukazzjoni (KE) meeting during which a KSU final position was agreed on. The council issued another press release: “Students are not Chess Pawns”. It was stated that KSU should not take sides, however, the students’ main concern regarding this issue is that students are always used as a leverage in such discussion and urged all stake holders to return to the table of negotiations. This press release was also supported by a number of Student Organisations: ASA, ASCS, CSA, ELSA, ESN, GUG, GħSL, GħST, ICTSA JEF Malta, KSJC, MHSA, MMSA, MPSA, MUSC, Pulse, SACES, S3 , SDM, TDM 2000 Malta, TSA, UESA, We Are.
KSU is continuing to follow this issue and will take further steps, which were discussed during the last KE meeting, to make more pressure and stop all the stake holders from continuing to use the student as a bargaining tool.