The agreement reached between the Union Haddiema Maghqudin and the government on Friday was described as a milestone by UHM secretary general Josef Vella. The agreement incorporates a number of accords related to various groups of workers within the health sector.
Mr Vella said “we want our members to enjoy what UHM negotiates for them but it also proves that UHM is a union with a major presence in the health sector, covering 27 different categories of workers across it.” Among the agreements reached on Friday, there is one on Dental Surgery Assistants, which is the first for this group of workers. The UHM has sole recognition for the sector.
The agreement on the Pharmacy Technicians Agreement, which was signed in 2012, will be fully implemented by next pay date. Another agreement which was reached concerns the clerks at the Mater Dei Hospital, who are employed with the Foundation for Medical Services.
UHM was always arguing that these workers should get equal pay for equal work. Their position was vindi- cated last Friday with an agree- ment reached underlining that these workers should enjoy the same working conditions and benefits as other clerks employed directly with the government and working at Mater Dei.
They will also be given their dues in arrears as per Civil Service Collective Agreement signed in 2012.
Furthermore, UHM closed the Gozo ambulance drivers saga, where the latter were not being given the allowances which Am- bulance Drivers at Mater Dei Hos- pital had been given since 2011. It has been confirmed that these em- ployees will be given this al- lowance dating back from 2011. UHM insisted that the agree- ment for the Allied Health Profes- sionals has to be implemented without any further delays. This agreement covers 800 professional worker who are providing a sterling service to our nation and the least the government can do is give them their dues.
The number of posts that had to be issued with regards to the Allied Health Professionals will be issued within 3 weeks (Scale 5 Managers). Moreover, it has been confirmed that employees who had to be promoted last year due to the agreement and who to date, have not been given the promotion, will be considered to be given the promotion back dated as to when this promotion should have been is- sued.
This includes the Allied Health Practitioners who should have been promoted in June 2013.
A number of Allied Health Pro- fessionals who should have been given Scale 9 last year will be given this Scale with back-dating as to when they should actually have been given the Scale. Environmental Health professionals (Health Inspectors), whose agreement had also been signed last year and whose promotions should also have been issued in June, was also concluded.
Upon formal confirmation by the Public Service commission, the Ministry for Health has committed itself to pay the arrears by June 2014. Another important milestone achieved during Friday’s meeting is the commitment by the Ministry that by today, it will send the document and start discussions with UHM on the implementation of the Competency Programme and Evaluation Framework for the Allied Health Professionals so that these professionals may be evaluated professionally and who- ever is found to have been professional in their work may progress to Scale 8 as per Sectoral Agreement. The union was adamant that this issue is discussed and concluded, since it believes that this Framework will bring a better service for the patient and a better framework for the professional.
UHM will be assisted in these discussions by committee mem- bers themselves, professionals in the field and respective professional associations. Likewise, the Dentists, who lack a proper structure that mirrors today’s advancements in the field, have been granted an allowance until such structure is agreed to between UHM and the Ministry for Energy and Health. UHM requested recognition for the Paramedic Aides, the Medical Physicists and the Health Inspectors.