Educators’ union accuses ministry of invasion of privacy
The Union of Professional Educators (UPE) on Wednesday launched a new trade dispute with the Education Ministry over what it called “underhanded maneuvers” to discredit the union.
UPE said members following legitimate guidelines have had their personal data shared with third parties without consent.
“The ministry resorted to retaliatory action taken on Tuesday afternoon against our members following legitimate directives that stipulate that these teachers must continue to teach and perform their duties as itinerant teachers / specialist teachers working within the Department of Education and not assume what the Department is calling a “Covid Class”.
He said that after weeks of negotiations over individual member issues, several teachers emailed personal data to the union on a confidential basis.
The union said this happened despite an agreement with Minister Justyne Caruana and other officials copied from the correspondence that the content of the emails should be used only for internal purposes and should not be sent to some thirds.
Unfortunately, UPE said, its members were then contacted by human resources and third parties asking them to attend an urgent meeting on Thursday, December 9.
A senior official of the Ministry of Education and a union leader in a heated exchange
“This shows the underhanded maneuvers that are being carried out to undermine the credibility of the union and how far the ministry will harass and intimidate union members.”
The UPE said it felt the need to register the labor dispute on the basis of harassment in the workplace, going against the code of ethics and violating Chapter 586 of the Labor Protection Act. data.
“The Union will take all necessary measures in accordance with Maltese law to safeguard its interests and those of its members, as well as to bring to justice those who have broken the law and the code of ethics.”
his latest dispute follows the fallout from the teacher shortage that has marred the new school year.
After public schools reopened after the summer break, the Malta Teachers Union (MUT) and UPE called for industrial action to deal with the teacher shortage that has plagued public primary schools.
The government tried to block the action but the court rejected the prohibition injunction filed by the Ministry of Education against the unions. In an executive order, the court said both unions had the right to issue directives to protect the interests of their members.
Although an agreement was subsequently reached between the MUT and the ministry on the deployment of hundreds of itinerant teachers to address the shortage, directives from the UPE are still pending.