Industrial action by paramedics in the public sector is set to escalate as the union representing them and the government fail to make headway on resolving their differences.
The Union Ħaddiema Magħqudin is demanding feedback about its proposals to improve paramedics’ conditions and has given the government until tomorrow to produce them.
On the other hand, the Health Ministry accuses the union of going beyond public service policies in its proposals and says it cannot hold discussions while the directives are in place.
On June 28, some 800 paramedics were instructed not to carry out community work, see to new outpatients or use means of communication.
They include physiotherapists, radiographers and occupational therapists. Medical laboratory scientists were told not to process regular tests ordered by general practitioners or health centres.
The union is seeking to update a 2007 agreement on the paramedics’ working conditions and presented its proposals a year ago.
However, a ministry spokesman has said the government could not present its counterproposals because the two sides could not agree on the parameters of negotiations.
The UĦM had presented a number of proposals that “unfortunately are not based on established regulations and policies within the public service,” including a claim for automatic promotions.
The spokesman said the union was not willing to consider that promotions should be based on meritocracy and qualifications.
Jean Paul Gauci, the union’s section secretary, said it was meeting paramedic representatives tomorrow to discuss harsher action if “acceptable counterproposals” were not received.