Around 500 people with disability have been affected by industrial directives issued by the Union Ħaddiema Magħqudin (UHM) which began on Friday. The Union ordered the staff at Aġenzija Sapport to follow the directives because of an issue which arose over promotions given to some of the staff. The Commissioner for the Rights of People with a Disability, Oliver Scicluna said that while it respects the rights of the staff to have their voices heard, it is not fair that people with a disability end up being the victims.
People with disability, including children, are being affected because of the industrial action called by the UHM which claims that 12 members of staff should be given a higher grade. The directives affect residential homes, day care centres, and community services given to people with a disability. They include not answering any communications by telephone or emails, not doing any cooking at the residential homes or day care centres, not filing any reports and not taking any orders from management.
The parents of people with a disability told TVM that they had to keep their children at home because of these directives.
Mr Scicluna told TVM that while the workers have a right to make their voices heard, it is not fair for people with a disability, including a number of children with severe disabilities, who depend on these daily services.
The Parliamentary Secretary for People with a Disability siad that these industrial actions are out of proportion considering that good increases have already been granted, both when it comes to salaries as well as a number of allowances. The PS said that the request which the UHM is making on behave of the 12 employees may lead to disputes between the staff. The Secretariat said that it had tried to reach a compromise by offering another proposal, but this was turned down by the UHM.