There is a lot of noise in the foreground. Journalists taking offence. Libel suits flying all over the place. Noise and yet more noise. Meanwhile, the raping and pillaging of Malta continues. The many questions on the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia remain unanswered. One group of journalists keeping mum about stories critical of the current administration, and the other not. It’s wearying. Journalists should be doing their job in the background, not the foreground. They shouldn’t be the story. Not in eventful and tragic 2019 Malta.
Meanwhile, my salary issue has also moved to the foreground. No, it’s not just personal. This goes beyond PN / PL, beyond October 2017 or March 2013. It goes back decades. Our justice system – not fit for purpose. Our administrative systems – not fit for purpose. Our law writers – cynical and politically captured. Most Maltese unions – eunuchs shafting their members.
Article 27 of the 2002 Employment and Industrial Relations Act tells us that
Employees in the same class of employment are entitled to the same rate of remuneration for work of equal value
It then goes on to qualify this:
Provided that an employer and a worker or a union of workers as a result of negotiations for a collective agreement, may agree on different salary scales, annual increments and other conditions of employment that are different for those workers who are employed at different times, where such salary scales have a maximum that is achieved within a specified period of time;
In other words, employees in the same class of employment are only entitled to the same rate of remuneration for work of equal value IF the union and employer do not decide otherwise.
I’d like to know the names of the lawyers who wrote this dastardly clause, so that I could bend their ears. What on earth possessed them to even think this clause was a good idea? Would the Maltese Constitutional Court strike this abusive clause off the statute books, I wonder? I’d like to think so.
So we have some unions in Malta treating this clause with the contempt it deserves. And then we have the other unions, amongst them the MUT.
In any one school all over Malta you have anomalies caused by the MUT applying this clause in various agreements with MEDE and the Secretariat for Church schools. Currently we have state to church and state to state mobile teachers having their pre 2013 prior teaching experience recognized and arrears post 2013 reimbursed. We then have pre 2013 church to state, independent to state, state to independent, church to independent mobile teachers who do not have their pre 2013 prior teaching experience recognized and no arrears post 2013 reimbursed. Post 2015 mobile teachers have their prior teaching experience recognized. You also have unqualified supply teachers stuck on Salary Scale 12 for decades and LSEs with various anomalies and discrimination in their salary and conditions. It’s a horror show. And all in a teacher recruitment crisis. My own Teacher of Physics who taught me Physics in the 80s is on a lower salary scale than I am because, when she returned to service after having a career break to have her family, she was placed on Salary Scale 9 Increment 1, just as though she were a newly qualified teacher.
The state to state and church to state mobile teachers are in a better position than all pre 2013 mobile teachers because of two EU to Malta mobile teachers. The first teacher was responsible for the 2013 MUT / MEDE agreement.
The second teacher was yours truly. I am responsible for the 2016 MEDE / Church agreement.
You see, the partial resolution of the discrimination against some Malta mobile teachers only came about because of two EU mobile teachers insisting on their rights under EU law. So effectively we have the application of EU law having the effect of partially resolving a parallel Maltese injustice not under the jurisdiction of the EU.
You'd think that people would be cheering the EU because of this, wouldn't you? All these mobile teachers partly getting their dues now. Look - the malevolent state getting its comeuppance. Isn't that brilliant? The little person chipping away at the implacability of the malevolent state.
I don't see much evidence of cheering. The malevolent Maltese state has been grinding down the little Maltese person for decades. And yet, when that veneer of indifference of the Maltese state to the lot of the common man is slightly tarnished, we have no eruptions of joy, no renewed hope.
Is it Stockholm syndrome? Is it the abused – and, boy, are the Maltese citizens and residents abused – siding with the abusers, the defilers of the Maltese justice system?
Instead we have a closing of ranks around the dysfunction. It is as though the devil we know is preferable to the angel we don't know.
Instead it is considered traitorous to dare quote your rights under EU law in a Maltese court of law. You might upset the judge. Or the Attorney General. You see, we have a parallel dimension of justice in Malta. We cannot let EU law diminish the autonomy of this alternative justice system. That would be traitorous. Even though when we joined the EU we promised to uphold EU law. Leave us be to illegally underpay our workers as much as we like.
There’s more. In March 2019, the NCPE – the Maltese entity designated by the EU to deal with EU freedom of movement issues – ruled in my favour re the 2010 to 2013 arrears due to me. MEDE has not even acknowledged receipt of the judgement. So I’m having to take this to court. If I win the upcoming court case, then all pre 2013 state to state and church to state mobile teachers will also win.
But does it have to come to this? Is this justice? No one is stopping MEDE doing the right thing and giving ALL teachers their proper dues. How shameful that the teaching profession is treated in this way.
Why should the serving of justice have to wait for EU mobile teachers to exercise their rights under EU law? Why should some professions have unions that do not sign away their members' right to equal pay for equal work whilst other unions do? What rationale is there behind this grotesque behaviour? Is it that the state thinks it can behave like this towards the teaching profession but not the medical profession, for example?
And - the most important question of all - why on earth do the workers allow this state of affairs to continue? What are they being held hostage to? Is this the promised land of "l-aqwa żmien"?