Friday, February 11, 2005

Goodwill gestures but tension continues

AquaGib
strike - Day 2


As AquaGib workers continued to take industrial action to the streets yesterday, marching with placards and blowing whistles, there was an angry reaction from senior management to a statement issued by the TGWU/Acts.

It emerged that the figures produced by the union on high management salaries were arrived at by guess work and “significantly” higher than the true figures. Although the AquaGib management have not released the figures the Chronicle was assured that those produced were inaccurate and quite some way from the true, lower figures.

Nonetheless the company did acknowledge the move by workers to ensure the supplies to the old St Bernard’s Hospital were not halted.

A salt water main developed a leak Wednesday night and as a result the salt water supply to a section of St Bernard’s Hospital was cut off.

AquaGib said that yesterday they were informed by the TGWU/ACTS that their members, who are AquaGib employees currently on strike, had offered to carry out the necessary repairs.

“After clarification that the work would be done under the normal supervision and control of Distribution Superintendents not involved in the strike action the company has accepted the offer. AquaGib is grateful to the Union and the employees involved for their responsible attitude in helping to restore supplies to the Hospital,” said the statement.

The union itself made clear that it is willing to undertake any emergency or urgency that affects essential services such as the hospitals or Mount Aslvernia. They said this would be done free of charge as a gesture of goodwill and added that as a responsible union they abide by Health and Safety matters.

Commenting on the second say of action the union went on to say that they had not yet received proposals form the company and that AquaGib’s position to their claim is not that it is incorrect or that they are not entitled but that the company cannot afford it.

“Our members do not believe and do not trust the stand taken by the company. The situation is that unless we receive a positive proposal we will be escalating the action and involving other sectors,” said the union. It reiterated a willingness to sit down and engage in “meaningful negotiations.” It said what are needed is worthwhile proposals from the company.

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