Industrial actions might disrupt the bus services, says Arriva

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Industrial actions might disrupt the bus services, says ArrivaArriva sys that it goes “beyond collective agreement but cannot accept GWU’s unrealistic requests.”

Local bus company Arriva Malta confirmed today that it has not received official notification of a dispute with the GWU. Notwithstanding this, Arriva Malta has reached out to the General Workers’ Union (GWU) in talks held yesterday in the presence of the Director for Employment and Industrial Relations, it said.

“The bus company has made a number of payment concessions that go above the current collective agreement, but has informed the GWU that it cannot accept other ‘unrealistic’ proposals made by them,” Arriva said.

As a result of these talks Arriva Malta said that it “remains unclear whether the GWU intend to disrupt bus services through industrial actions. Arriva has therefore warned commuters to keep this in mind as they plan their daily travel, should this disruption happen.”

“We ask our customers to bear with us should GWU decide to call industrial action and the bus service be disrupted. Arriva Malta has taken all reasonable steps to prevent any action and disruption to the service offered to our customers. We remain open to enter negotiations to review the existing collective agreement and are willing to commence discussions as soon as the Transport Ministers new network is agreed,” Arriva said.

During yesterday’s discussions, Arriva said that it “highlighted that its new rosters for the winter timetables are not only in line with the current collective agreement, contractual obligations with Transport Malta, and the Working Time Directive to ensure adequate rest periods, but that they are an improvement on those being worked today and go beyond the guidelines agreed with the GWU elected driver representatives earlier this year.

“Arriva has also offered to pay drivers for any additional breaks above the legally required meal break and also to pay any time above the GWU’s requested maximum break time for normal duties.”

Arriva Added, that it “cannot accept the GWU’s request that these payments be made at overtime rates which is contradictory to the Collective Agreement signed with the GWU in September 2012. Arriva explained that the request is not only unrealistic but indeed harmful to the business and the drivers’ job security.

“The company made it clear that it is suffering significant losses which have been compounded by the recent withdrawal of articulated buses at a cost of €400,000 per week. These unrealistic demands by the GWU may force the company to review the number of employees currently retained by the company whilst awaiting the return of the articulated buses”

Arriva has confirmed “that it has sought the assistance of Transport Malta to prevent any industrial action by the GWU however this has not yet been achieved.”

“Arriva has therefore obtained the approval of the Malta Employers Association for a lock-out to protect the businesses interests should this take place which will also include suspension of the UBS services. Legal action will also be taken should unlawful Industrial Action be taken by the GWU or any employees.,” Arriva concluded.

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