Tony Zarb denies union action sparked by drivers’ threat of split

Bus operator Arriva insists it has always been ‘open for discussions’

GWU secretary-general Tony Zarb
GWU secretary-general Tony Zarb

General Workers' Union secretary-general Tony Zarb has denied that the ultimatum given to Arriva was a bold act inspired by fears of disgruntled drivers threatening to break away from the GWU to set up a house union.

"Discussions with Arriva have been going on for a long time and has nothing to do with anyone leaving the GWU," Zarb told MaltaToday.

He added that today the union was holding other two meetings with Arriva drivers in Gozo before it tomorrow sends an official letter to the public transport operator informing it of the ultimatum.

In a press statement issued yesterday, the GWU said it would be giving Arriva a 48-hour ultimatum to get back to the negotiating table. Failure to do so, the GWU would be registering an industrial dispute.

The ultimatum expires 48 hours after the official letter is sent to Arriva.

Zarb failed to confirm or deny whether the industrial action would include striking drivers.

"We will be taking the measures which we will deem necessary and are applicable by law," he said.

On the other hand, an Arriva spokesperson told MaltaToday that the company had always been open for discussions.

"Since the very beginning, Arriva was always open for discussions with everyone," the spokesman said.

The spokesman however could not comment any further since it is yet to receive the letter from the union.

The GWU is currently negotiating a four-year collective agreement for all Arriva employees with the major stumbling block being the financial package.

Asked to explain Arriva's position over the financial package, the spokesman said it was not opportune to discuss the issue at this stage.

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Xifajk is righ. SHAME ON YOU BOTH. RESIGN NOW. Baqax x'jonqos issa. Il-karozza tasal 5 min uti tard. SHAME ON GONZIPN.
Joseph MELI
Who exactly are these "SPOKEPERSONS" whose comments representing a variety of companies and authorities on many serious issues we are constantly regaled with but whose name,position or status within the body the speak for always remains undisclosed -indeed anonymous.Surely with such serious issues at stake these mysterious "Spokespersons" identities' should be made known and that their comments are approved and sanctioned by the head of the organisation(s) concerned.
The population is disgruntled. When is Arriva going to stick to times printed on bus stop around Malta? How long are we going to be taken for a ride. Is the Maltese Government allowing this on purpose? Is this the efficiency we were promised by the Hon Austin Gatt and Mr Bastow? SHAME ON YOU BOTH.

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