The teachers' union expects a raise of “much more than 20 per cent” in salaries and is prepared to step up action should its demands continue being resisted.

"We are prepared to take industrial action. We are a trade union and we have the means to take action," MUT president Marco Bonnici told Times Talk.

Teachers are at loggerheads with the government after their demands for higher salaries and better conditions appear to have hit a brick wall. He said the union's demands are more than justified: learning support assistants earn less than €1,000 a month while teachers on average earn €20,000 annually. 

He dismissed claims that youths were being enticed by perks in the sector, such as summer holidays and private tuition revenue.

The MUT boss recalled that discussions with the government started three years ago but while the union stuck to its deadlines, the ministry did not.

Mr Bonnici underlined the problem of teachers’ shortage saying the statistics were not tallying with the government’s.

The Education Department incensed the MUT last week after it e-mailed university students to advertise vacancies for teachers in biology, chemistry, accounts, integrated science, ICT and computer studies at government middle and secondary schools.

Mr Bonnici dismissed accusations that teachers were unflexible, citing the introduction of computer tablets as an example.

He said educators are willing to change their teaching methods but conditions needed to change too.

“We want to be financially compensated and our working conditions need to improve.”

The interview was carried out on Monday morning


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