UHM Voice of the Workers will keep fighting until Steward Health Care employees will enjoy the same conditions as their colleagues who are Government books.

UHM CEO Josef Vella made this pledge when meeting Opposition leader Bernard who paid a visit to the union’s quarters in Floriana.

Vella noted that the union had sounded the alarm bells from the very beginning in 2015 as it was amply clear that this deal not in the people’s. He reminded that it was UHM which in 2016 together with the doctors’ union submitted the request for an investigation by the  Auditor General into this contract.

“This was a crucial decision, not only because we discovered that this agreement should never have been sealed, but also because the Auditor General’s investigation was fundamental in the Court’s ruling that led to the same agreement being annulled,” Vella remarked.

However, the CEO warned that this saga was not over because the workers who had been recruited by Steward were still being discriminated against. Despite doing the same work as their colleagues who are on Government books, they were given inferior employment conditions. This goes against the principle of equal pay for work of equal value and is therefore a form of discrimination if not precarious employment.

“It was only thanks to UHM that after a long battle, Government accepted to absorb these workers with the same conditions according to a written agreement,” Vella said.

“Unfortunately, these workers have not redeemed this agreement to the full because Government decided not to ignore the workers’ years of service with with Steward and therefore they had to start  at the lowest salary scale which meant severe financial losses. That was the reason which prompted UHM to take Government to Court, which today has become the only refuge for those who seek redress or justice”. The case will continue on Thursday 16 March.

Josef Vella said that UHM could not remain on the fence and therefore would be taking part in the national protest that was called in the wake of the court’s historic decision to rescind the hospitals agreement.

During his visit, the Leader of the Opposition toured the premises and congratulated UHM for its work in to safeguard workers’ rights, industrial relations and for its stance with respect to the hospitals agreement.