The Union of Professional Educators – Voice Of The Workers, is pleased to report that it had a meeting recently with the Secretariat of Catholic Education about the issues of replacement lessons and teaching loads specifically at Stella Maris College, Gzira.
This meeting with the Secretariat was called after the Union had attempted but failed to reach an agreement with the school management. It ought to be noted that although an agreement had not been reached, the school management had shown a willingness to resolve the situation.
The Union can now report that it has come to an agreement with the School and the Church authorities. Replacements will be given to all teachers including those performing the role of “Year Tutors” when the number of sick personnel is higher than the available supply. In this way, teachers will be assigned replacements according to the signed agreement.
The Union also raised the matter of the school management directly requesting teachers to replace absent teachers. In many instances, this was done in the knowledge that the teacher would exceed the stipulated replacement load. It has been agreed that in future such notices will be issued via email and a teacher can voluntarily undertake a replacement and thus not feel directly pressured or intimidated. Furthermore, it has been reaffirmed that a teacher has the right to refuse replacements that are over and above his or their limit.
Notwithstanding this all those who stick to their 25 lesson load have the Union’s backing and cannot be prejudiced against
The School stated that it would strive to avoid circumstances in which teachers will be given more than the maximum of 25 lessons. Unfortunately, the school did not guarantee that this would not occur again in the coming years. The Union pledges to remain vigilant and to flag any such breaches of the current agreement.
The UPE is very aware that the shortage of teachers within the sector is contributing to the difficulties being experienced in Church Schools. As such, the Union is fully committed to looking after its members’ interests and will continue to monitor developments.