The Malta Union for Midwives and Nurses (MUMN) and the Medical Association of Malta (MAM) are likely to be pursuing industrial and trade unionist action following their serious concerns over Vitals Global Healthcare’s (VGH) sale of the concession of three state hospitals to Steward Global Healthcare.
Speaking to The Malta Independent, General Secretaries Colin Galea (MUMN) and Martin Balzan (MAM) both revealed that since they were informed of the sale when it was announced late December; both the Ministry and Steward have failed to meet or communicate any information to the unions.
Galea elaborated that MUMN will call for industrial action but did not divulge the exact directives the union will be taking. He did not exclude the possibility of a strike taking place.
On the other hand, Balzan revealed that the a council meeting will be taking place tonight where they will explore the possibility of industrial action and the legal remedies the union could pursue
As Balzan, pointed out in an opinion piece that will be published tomorrow, in the last collective agreement the government bound itself to give MAM 6 weeks’ notice before any privatization and outsourcing; and provide a written commitment to show key documentation before such a move takes place.
VGH, the company which was entrusted with the provision of healthcare services through the Gozo, Karin Grech and St Luke’s hospitals, sold its concession to the American company called Steward Healthcare. VGH sold the 30 year concession only 21 months after securing a deal with the Maltese government.
The price of the sale of the concession is still unknown. Reliable and well-informed sources have since told the newsroom that VGH was forced into a sale due to mounting financial difficulty and that Minister Mizzi had known about the state of affairs for an entire year prior to the announcement.
Mizzi has been reluctant to provide any information, telling the newsroom to pose these questions “to the seller” despite of being reminded of the public’s growing concern over the deal.
Original article found on The Malta Independent