Educators to strike on Nov 27 / Malta News Briefing – Friday 10 November 2023

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Educators to strike on Nov 27

Educators from both state and Church schools are set to go on strike on November 27 following the inability of their union and the government to reach an agreement on salary matters. Marco Bonnici, the chief of the Malta Union of Teachers, announced on Friday morning that teachers would receive a series of directives starting Monday, leading up to a full-day strike on November 27. This decision comes merely two months after the resumption of classes across the islands and will affect primary, secondary, and sixth form schools under the administration of either the state or the Church. Reacting to MUT’s announcement, the government said it was willing to continue negotiations and had scheduled a reconciliatory meeting for Monday.

PN says institutions abdicating responsibility on Vitals case

The Nationalist Party contends that the recent decision by the Attorney General, State Advocate, and Police Commissioner to refrain from taking action in the hospitals concession case indicates government control over institutions. Nationalist Leader Bernard Grech, in a press conference at PN’s Dar Ċentrali, asserted that the officials’ response in court demonstrated an abdication of their constitutional responsibilities, aligning with government desires. Grech emphasized that despite evidence of complicity between the government and entities like Steward and Vitals, these institutions are neglecting their duties. He expressed concern that the authorities are not safeguarding the €400 million misappropriated from the Maltese people. Grech announced the PN’s forthcoming official response in court, asserting the party’s commitment to taking necessary action where others have faltered. (TVM)

Morning Briefing

AG, Police Commissioner say they cannot act on fraudulent hospitals deal

The State Advocate, Attorney General, and Police Commissioner rejected the Opposition’s plea to take action against those implicated in the alleged fraudulent hospitals’ deal, asserting their lack of authority in the matter. Opposition leader Bernard Grech and MP Adrian Delia had filed a judicial protest last week, giving authorities a one-week deadline to act. In response, two counter-protests were filed, stating that the State Advocate, AG, and commissioner lacked the authority requested. The State Advocate, as the government’s chief legal advisor, had fulfilled obligations in arbitration proceedings, still pending as per contract terms. The Attorney General and Police Commissioner, in a joint counter protest, argued that their roles were legally defined, making the Opposition’s request untenable. The AG, as the state’s chief prosecutor, couldn’t initiate civil proceedings for damages. (Times of Malta)

TM senior official suspended on corruption claims

A senior enforcement official at Transport Malta has been suspended as investigations unfold into allegations of corruption and bribery. The latest accusations, revealed by The Shift, involve the official allegedly forgiving citations issued to boat owners in exchange for cash gifts or weekend breaks in Gozo. The suspended official, a manager responsible for maritime enforcement officers, is accused of sleaze, bribery, and abuse of overtime by colleagues within the department. Team members reported the manager’s involvement in a racket that led to the deletion of hefty contravention fines for maritime rule violations, exchanged for gifts and financial benefits from boat owners. The allegations suggest that the manager approached boat owners caught breaking rules, offering to cancel their contraventions in exchange for bribes and favors. It remains unclear whether the official acted alone or involved other officials in the racket. (Newsbook/The Shift)

Feasts considered for UNESCO heritage list

A UNESCO Technical Board has proposed the inclusion of Maltese Festas in the intangible heritage of humanity, as revealed by Minister for Heritage, the Arts, and Local Government, Owen Bonnici, during discussions on the Budget Estimates for his portfolios in Parliament. Minister Bonnici mentioned that a vote on this matter is scheduled in the coming weeks during a meeting in Botswana. Additionally, Dr. Bonnici highlighted a budget increase of over €20 million for the upcoming year in his sector. (TVM)

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