Some 87% of nurses and midwives voted to approve a new sectoral agreement offered by the government, The Malta Union of Midwives and Nurses said in a statement on Friday. 

This comes after union members rejected the pay packages offered earlier this year, after months of industrial action as the Health Ministry and the union failed to come to an agreement over the matter. 

The MUMN said that most of its proposals had been accepted by the government and will be introduced during a five-year period. It also includes new incentives to encourage young people to join the profession while retaining the existing workforce, they said. 

Under the new agreement, all nurses and midwives in all grades will receive a management allowance, as they are the only professionals managing wards, while an extra 6.6 hours which nurses and midwives work as part of their roster will be paid as overtime rather than a flat rate.

It was agreed that electronic palm readers, that clock in attendance, will only be used when all employees, irrespective of their grade or salary, begin to make use of it, while nurses and midwives will not have the use of IT systems such as the robotic drug dispensing system imposed on them unless in agreement with the MUMN. 

The sectoral agreement will also introduce new allowances for new graduates and for continuous professional development, as well as an allowance to incentivise more nurses and midwives to work more overtime. 

All existing allowances for nurses and midwives at any grade will be increased, while the deductions from allowances during sick leave will no longer take place when sick leave is not abused, they said. 

In reaction to the vote, Health Minister Chris Fearne said he was pleased with the result, calling the union members’ embrace of the sectoral agreement “a positive outcome for nurses and ultimately for patients”.

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