5th May 2017
Gozo Channel Operations Limited wishes to inform the public of an ongoing industrial dispute between the company and the Union Ħaddiema Maqgħudin (UĦM) as a result of which the UĦM has yesterday, the 4th of May 2017, issued a number of directives to its members, including, amongst others, a directive not to operate any extra trips which are not on the company’s timetable and which the company deems necessary in order to ensure the smooth carriage of passengers, vehicles and goods from Malta to Gozo and vice versa. The Directives came into force at midnight, today the 5th of May.
The deadlock in negotiations with the UĦM has been crystallised after the UĦM made extraordinary requests for increases in pay in connection with negotiations for a new financial package for the Seaborne Officers of the company. The UĦM has in fact made requests for salary increases which are over inflated to the current salaries for the grades of Master, Chief Engineer, Chief Officer, Second Engineer, Leading Electrical Officer Afloat and Electrical Officer Ashore arguing that the salaries of the latter grades need to be revised in order to reflect the current market practices.
Following a request made by the Union, officers in the Director of Industrial and Employment Relations (DIER), called for a conciliation meeting between the company and the UĦM, which was held on the 2nd May 2017, and it was agreed that the company would submit a new financial package for all seaborne employees within two days. A sustainable package was therefore duly proposed by the Company with an increase in salaries across the grades concerned. Within minutes after this proposal was submitted, the UĦM informed the company of the directives that were being directed to the workers of the Company.
The Director of Industrial and Employment Relations attempted a second conciliation meeting which the Union instantly refused.
Whereas the Company wishes to apologise for any inconvenience caused by the directives issued by the UĦM, and whilst appealing to all concerned to act reasonably at a time when the public’s demand for an efficient service is increasing, it confirms its commitment to attempt re-opening discussions with the Union in order to revert to a situation of industrial peace.