A dispute on which union has sole recognition for physiotherapists has prompted the Malta Union of Midwives and Nurses to take the government to court.

In a judicial protest filed on Tuesday, the union noted that although it was granted sole recognition in September 2016, the UĦM Voice of the Workers had filed a formal request for such. 

Around 170 of the some 200 physiotherapists were MUMN members, the union said.

Addressing a news conference outside the law courts in Valletta, MUMN president Paul Pace accused the UĦM of trying to get recognition “through the backdoor”.

The UĦM, he said, had recently requested recognition of the allied healthcare professions, which incorporates nine categories of professionals in the public healthcare sector, but not physiotherapists.

While the MUMN had no objection to this, it objected to the incorporation of physiotherapists to allied healthcare professionals, and, consequently, to the UĦM. 

A stand-alone sectorial agreement for physiotherapists, he said, would be more beneficial for the workers. 

Mr Pace pointed out that since being granted recognition in 2016, talks between the health ministry and the MUMN over a new sectoral collective agreement had reached an advanced stage.

However, negotiations had stopped once the UĦM bid for recognition. Asked if the union would be taking further action should the government grant the UĦM recognition of physiotherapists, Mr Pace said nothing was being excluded.

In the judicial protest, the union said this would be in breach of their fundamental right of association.

Lawyer Chris Cilia and legal procurator Gerald Bonello filed the protest against the Prime Minister, the principal permanent secretary, the director of employment and industrial relations and the Attorney General. 

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