The strike by operating theatre nurses planned for Monday has been called off after their union and Mater Dei Hospital management reached an agreement to address staff shortage.

A total of 10 nurses will be deployed at the operating theatres on Monday, with Mater Dei assuring the Malta Union of Midwives and Nurses that it will finalise a new system of rosters by the end of the month.

When contacted after the meeting held this afternoon, general secretary Colin Galea confirmed that the industrial action has been called off.

However, if the proposed management system, which has been in the pipeline since September, is not finalised by the end of February and implemented on March 1, or it transpires that the additional 10 nurses are not enough, more nurses will be deployed in March.

A total of five will be deployed on March 1 and another five on March 15.

Meetings will be held with nurses in the coming days to explain new rosters and systems of management.

The MUMN had registered an industrial dispute earlier this week, ordering about 200 nurses to strike between 7am and 7pm if an additional 20 nurses are not assigned to operating theatres.

Nurses complained of severe burnout, saying that while the number of operations had increased to cut down on waiting lists, manpower was not strengthened.

When contacted, Mr Galea had said that although a number of new nurses were deployed at the theatres recently, others were transferred elsewhere, meaning the addition did nothing to ease the workload.

On Thursday, industrial action by nurses and midwives at the Gozo General Hospital was called off after concerns over new rosters were clarified.

Similarly, action planned for Monday concerning physiotherapists was halted given a date to discuss their sectoral agreement.

Still on the cards however is doctors’ industrial action at hospitals and health centres after talks between the Medical Association of Malta and the government stalled.

Currently, there are two other ongoing industrial disputes, one of which concerns the professional development of social workers employed by the Education Ministry, also represented by MUMN.

Meanwhile, Foundation for Social Welfare Service employees, represented by the UĦM Voice of the Workers, escalated their industrial action pending an agreement over their pay.