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UĦM orders industrial action at Aġenzija Sapport

Workers instructed not to communicate with clients

UĦM registered industrial action with Aġenzija Sapport. Photo: Shutterstock

UĦM registered industrial action with Aġenzija Sapport. Photo: Shutterstock

The UĦM Voice of the Workers has ordered industrial action for care workers, social workers and occupational therapists after no agreement was reached in negotiations on the new collective agreement, the Times of Malta has learnt.

The directives will affect workers at Aġenzija Sapport, who have been instructed not to communicate with clients, to refrain from compiling reports, and not attend meetings. The workers were also ordered not to attend appointments with clients.

UĦM’s Isabelle Farrugia said the actions were ordered after negotiations over the collective agreement, which had expired in 2016, reached a deadlock.

Workers were also told not to conduct case reviews or assessments by professionals in some centres run by Aġenzija Sapport, an e-mail sent to workers seen by the Times of Malta shows.

The union will be escalating these directives unless there is no new developments, it warned in an e-mail sent to members. No meetings have been planned.

Aġenzija Sapport clients will be negatively impacted, Ms Farrugia admitted, especially those who make use of day services and those who live in residential services.

Negotiations over the collective agreement reach a deadlock

Aġenzija Sapport offers services to those in residential services or day services. It also offers referrals and assessments to those who suffer from mental or physical health impairments.

Day services were passed on to Aġenzija Sapport in 2007 and currently there are 12 day centres for persons with disability in Malta and Gozo.

The aim is to help persons with disability to continue developing their potential through different types of activities, and to provide support to their families so that these individuals can continue living within the community without being socially ex-cluded or institutionalised.

A spokeswoman for the Ministry for the Family, Children’s Rights and Social Solidarity said both Aġenzija Sapport and the UĦM are working together to reach an agreement in the shortest possible time.

“This is in line with the government’s commitment to ensure that persons with disability who make use of Aġenzija Sapport’s services are given the priority they deserve in a timely manner,” the spokeswoman said.

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