The Employment and Industrial Relations Act 2002 (EIRA) defines a “contract of employment” and a “contract of employment” as “an agreement (with the exception of service as a member of a disciplined force), whether orally or in writing, in any manner, under which a person undertakes to provide or work for an employer for remuneration. and, as regards the conditions of employment, includes an apprenticeship contract agreement”. This definition recognizes an oral agreement as enforceable by law. However, in cases where no written employment contract has been signed between the worker and the employer, the employer is required to provide the worker with a signed statement indicating the basic conditions of employment in accordance with Legal Note 431 of 2002 – Information to Employees Regulations, 2002. The signed declaration should contain the following information: the date of commencement of employment; the trial period; normal rates of pay; overtime rates of wages payable; normal working hours; the periodicity of salary payments; in the case of a fixed-term or permanent-term contract, the planned or agreed duration of the contract; paid leave as well as leave, sick leave and other days of leave to which the worker is entitled; the conditions under which the employer may impose fines; the title, grade, nature or class of the work for which the worker is employed; the notice periods to be respected by the employer and the worker in this case; where applicable, the collective agreement governing the worker`s working conditions; and all other relevant or applicable terms and conditions of employment. The signed declaration or employment contract must be issued within eight working days of the start of the employment relationship (or from the start date of the contract). A survey carried out in the last quarter of 2014 by the Forum of National Trade Unions (NFTU) showed that 55.8% of employees had a collective agreement at their workplace. This survey was based on a sample of 781 employees, representing all Maltese employees. This figure excludes workers who are unsure whether or not they have a collective agreement in their workplace. The NFTU consists of 22 unions (NFTU, 2015). The agreement signed in 2017 for teachers in public schools involves the creation of a fund of work tools.

Teachers need to be trained for up to 360 hours to help them progress faster. A modification of the school curricula is also mentioned in order to give teachers more autonomy and freedom during classes. Collective bargaining in Malta is decentralised and takes place mainly at the level of collective bargaining with a single employer. Workers voluntarily join a union and the union has the right to bargain on behalf of the workers as soon as it is a member of 50% + 1 of the workers who work in a given company or in a given category of employment within the company. The union informs the management of the company and the director of DIER of their intention to engage in collective bargaining within the company. Beyond collective bargaining, the “Workers` Information and Consultation Regulations 2006”, which transposes Directive 2002/14/EC, provides that the trade union has the right to be consulted and informed on all matters relating to employment relations. It should be noted that there have been cases where certain categories of workers have applied for separate recognition from that of other workers within the same organization. Collective agreements are legally binding.

Since its establishment in 1919, the Teachers` Union of Malta (MUT) has developed both in its stature as an organisation at national level and in its membership. The union started with just over 600 members and today the MUT is over 9000 strong and represents all classes of teachers in the public and private sectors, from kindergarten to university. . . .