As Monday’s teachers’ strike looms, there are so far no planned meetings this week to settle the dispute, according to sources.

The sources said both sides are still “way apart”, with the main stumbling block being the financial package.

After the last round of talks failed on Friday, no date has been set for the next meeting, with time running out for the government to settle the issue before teachers go on strike on Monday.

Following the meeting, the Malta Union of Teachers announced that it had rejected the government’s new financial package, saying that, though it was an improvement on their original figures, it was “not enough”.

Education Minister Clifton Grima has remained tight-lipped on the outcome of negotiations, refusing to elaborate on how the government planned to proceed negotiating with the union and avoid the November 27 strike.

In the meantime, teachers and learning support educators have been ordered not to carry out class assessments, hold meetings with parents or take attendance.

The directives were issued after the teachers’ union refused the government’s initial offer, describing it as “insulting”.

“While I don’t agree with the MUT’s actions, I still respect it and the role

of educators. However, I will keep insisting that the package being proposed by the government is sustainable, understands the important role of educators and fulfils its promise of being a significant increase in wages,” Grima said when asked on Saturday.

Contacted yesterday, a ministry spokesperson assured Times of Malta that “meetings and communication were ongoing”.

Following Friday’s meeting, the MUT said the second conciliatory meeting with the government had failed to bring the parties together and “did not result in any tangible solution”, effectively failing to resolve the pay dispute.

The MUT council will be meeting this week to discuss the matter further and remains open to further discussions with the government.

Both the MUT and the government have so far refused to disclose the figures around which the pay dispute revolves, claiming it would damage the negotiations.

Salaries for teachers begin at €24,494, rising by annual increments of €447.33 up to a maximum of €27,178. That is supplemented by a class allowance of €2,350 per annum, together with a works resources fund of €650.

Parents of non-verbal children have said that the directives have left their children more vulnerable in school, as educators are not documenting the daily outcome of their progress as they usually do.

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