Saturday, March 19, 2005

Caruana denies agreement has been reached in AquaGib dispute

Chief Minister Peter Caruana has accused the TGWU/ACTS of making “a premature statement” regarding the AquaGib pay dispute.

In a statement issued yesterday, Mr Caruana said there has been no negotiations and there is not yet any agreement between the Union and the company, “nor have details of any agreement been passed to me.”

A Gibraltar Government spokesman said:

“The position is as follows. As is known, the Chief Minister agreed to mediate between the parties to enable them to reach a negotiated solution. During the last three weeks Mr Caruana has invited both sides to make representations and provide relevant documents to him, he has considered the voluminous documentation provided and has met separately with both sides.”

“Based on his assessment of the merits of both side’s arguments the Chief Minister last week outlined to the staff side a possible way forward, which Mr Caruana would, if it was acceptable to the staff side, propose to the Company. The staff side took the idea away for discussion. On Thursday the Union informed Mr Caruana that his idea was acceptable to staff.”

“Accordingly, the Chief Minister will now put the idea to AquaGib management for their consideration. Only if AquaGib accept the same idea will the mediation have provided a way forward for the parties to themselves negotiate a comprehensive agreement that will address all uncertainties in the Company pay structure and other matters.”

“Furthermore, the Union statement refers to an apparent claim for Distiller Plant Assistants. Mr Caruana’s suggested 3 point plan does not specifically address any particular grade’s claim. The Chief Minister’s is mediating in a dispute that relates to retrospection. However, if both sides accept the Chief Minister’s proposal, all issues between staff and company now and in foreseable future can be addressed by them.”

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