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MALTATODAY 16 April 2023

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2 maltatoday | SUNDAY • 16 APRIL 2023 NEWS Thank you... for having bought this newspaper The good news is that we're not raising the price of our newspaper We know times are still hard, but we have pledged to keep giving our readers quality news they deserve, without making you pay more for it. So thank you, for making it your MaltaToday Support your favourite newspaper with a special offer on online PDF subscriptions. Visit or scan the QR code Subscriptions can be done online on Same-day delivery at €1 for orders up to 5 newspapers per address. Subscribe from €1.15 a week Same-day print delivery from Miller Distributors mt CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 The union rejected govern- ment's latest offer, made during a meeting on 6 April. The union subsequently refused to attend a conciliatory meeting called by the Health Ministry, calling it "useless". However, the MUMN will on Tuesday ask its members to vote on the government proposals it has already rejected. Nurses will also decide what industrial ac- tion they will take if they refuse the government's offer. The MUMN has said its de- mands represent an increase of around €75 million in the nurses' wage bill, rejecting an estimate of around €130 million suggested to MaltaToday by government sources a couple of weeks ago. Fearne and Abela do not quan- tify what government's pay in- creases will cost but insist that they are more than double the increase nurses got in the 2018 sectoral agreement. They insist the government's offer to the MUMN was "pub- licly misrepresented, distorted and maligned at the cost of the truth". They also say that industrial action taken by the union led to "predictably dangerous con- sequences" on the health of pa- tients. Describing the current impasse as a "crossroads" they insist now is the time to put their cards on the table and present "the facts". The ministers say that govern- ment is proposing that all hours worked by nurses in excess of 40 hours per week "will no longer be compensated at a flat rate but on an hourly rate multiplied by 1.5". This alone, they argue, will lead to a "very significant" increase in earnings for all nurses who work overtime hours but "especially to those who work 46 and 2/3 hour shifts". Nurses and midwives have an extended work week of 46.6 hours and the union wants the additional hours to be com- pensated at overtime rates and taxed at a flat 10%. Among other details, the min- isters also say that government's proposal also includes an in- crease in nursing premiums across the board. "In addition, as from 2025 more nurses will start benefitting from a higher nurs- ing premium as the categories for eligibility are lowered from the nurses who have 35 years of service to those who have 25 years of service," they say. Fearne and Abela insist the government is putting its mon- ey where its mouth is. "Between 2018 and 2022 the Sectoral Agreement for Nurses and Mid- wives was considered to be a very good one, including hefty increases. Our proposals today are offering increases which are more than double those we gave in 2018." Pledging to continue showing goodwill till the end, the minis- ters, however, insist that "noth- ing is agreed until everything is agreed". See also Editorial MT2 PAGE 2 NOT only politicians should be held accountable, ADPD Chair- person Carmel Cacopardo said when referring to the ITS con- sultancy contract given to MP Rosianne Cutajar. Cacopardo warned on Saturday that information that remains hidden leads to bad governance as he called for transparency and accountability to be upheld "without fail". "Lack of transparency threat- ens democracy itself," Cacopar- do said at a press conference outside the National Audit Of- fice in Floriana. ADPD has asked the NAO to investigate a consultancy con- tract given to MP Rosianne Cutajar by the Institute of Tour- ism Studies after this came to light in WhatsApp chats be- tween the MP and murder sus- pect Yorgen Fenech. The chats published by author Mark Camilleri were followed up by The Shift News, which published the contract that was obtained through a freedom of information request. Cutajar was appointed consult- ant to ITS CEO Pierre Fenech on a three-year contract that paid her €27,000 annually for 24 hours per week of service. The contract was dated May 2019. Cacopardo praised the Auditor General for taking such cases seriously. He said the Auditor General earlier this week asked for a meeting regarding ADPD's request. "We have not asked for Hon. Cutajar to be investigated but for an investigation on whether ITS had engaged her in an abusive manner to carry out work that she had neither the knowledge nor the competency to do. It is not only politicians that should be accountable for their actions," Cacopardo said. He added that Cutajar's con- tract with ITS is only one ex- ample of many that have been uncovered by investigative jour- nalism. Not only politicians should be held accountable over public funds, ADPD says 'Distorted and maligned at the cost of the truth' ADPD have asked the NAO to investigate the ITS contract awarded to MP Rosianne Cutajar

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