Nurses and midwives have rejected a government pay offer, the Malta Union of Midwives and Nurses (MUMN) said on Tuesday.

In a brief statement, the union said 97.6% had voted ‘No’ to the government's financial package at an extraordinary general meeting attended by 804 nurses and midwives. This, the union said, was the biggest ever meeting since its founding in 1996.

About 4,000 nurses and midwives were invited to the EGM.

The union said its council will hold a press conference on Wednesday to explain why the government's offer was rejected and to announce the way forward. 

The vote was held after months of talks between union and Ministry of Health officials on a new sectoral agreement.  The talks had ended in stalemate and the union had ordered industrial action which had raised concerns about patient care. The action was suspended last week. 

Health Minister Chris Fearne and JoEtienne Abela, the minister for the elderly, wrote in an opinion piece on Sunday that the government's offer would have seen the take-home pay of nurses and midwives increasing by around €6,000 annually by the end of the agreement's four-year term. 

The MUMN had presented a contrasting picture of the government's proposals, describing them as inadequate and humiliating.

The MUMN members at the extraordinary general meeting, held at the Hotel Phoenicia.The MUMN members at the extraordinary general meeting, held at the Hotel Phoenicia.

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