The Malta Union of Nurses and Midwives on Wednesday accused the government of arrogance for taking it to court whenever it resorted to industrial action.

It said that its members were being deprived of updated sectoral agreements as a result.

A court last week ordered the union to halt industrial action by technicians who sterilise the hospital's surgical equipment, ruling that the directives were detrimental to people’s health and endangering patients.

Mr Justice Robert Mangion found that the directives were dangerous as they were leading to the cancellation of scores of operations.

The union issued the directives to technicians last month, ordering them to stop decontaminating, sterilising and packaging medical instruments for surgeries.

The issue revolved around the financial package offered to these technicians. The dispute also involved phlebotomists, who draw blood, as well as dental surgery technicians, who assist dentists.

However, the court found that the directives to these particular staff were not endangering patients.  

The union said on Wednesday that it was evident that Robert Abela's government was using the law courts repeatedly against it and its members.

No previous prime minister had acted in this way. "This shows the arrogance and lack of respect which this government has towards health professions," the union said

It pointed out that he had been seeking agreement with the health division on various sector agreements for nine months, but always faced 'arrogance and stubbornness' from the government’s side, leaving no option but industrial action. 

The union said that while it will respect the court's decisions, it will not be muzzled by such government tactics.

The union said it is issuing new directives to the Decontamination Sterile Technicians ( DSTS), The Dental Surgery Assistants ( DSAs) and the phlebotomists.

  

 

 

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