Air Malta pilots seek 50% pay cut to avoid redundancies

Air Malta

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Air Malta pilots are willing to accept a 50% pay cut as long as none of them are made redundant, but the airline is refusing to explain its refusal to entertain this proposal, the Airline Pilots Association – Malta (ALPA) said today.

Following a breakdown in talks with the union on how to reduce payroll costs during the pandemic – which has seen the airline limited to two daily flights as opposed to the usual 20 – Air Malta confirmed plans to lay off 108 of its 134 pilots. The company had asked all unions representing its employees to agree on a monthly income of €1,200 for those whose work is not presently required.

The 108 pilots had been given a 30-day notice which expires tomorrow, but ALPA noted that just a few days ago, it was informed that Air Malta presently required 62 pilots – rather than 26 as originally envisaged. The union added that the airline was demanding substantial changes to the collective agreement, demanding more restrictive clauses governing the settlement of disputes.

Management elements ‘intent on having talks fail’

The union noted that the airline’s change of plans only materialised after it pressured management into divulging its business plan for the Covid-19 pandemic, and for the post-pandemic recovery. It lamented that its offer to extend the opportunity for further negotiations was refused by management, stating that it could not understand the reasons behind this refusal.

“Some elements in the management team seem to be intent on having talks fail. The obscene approach with regards to the association’s representatives is not conducive to a mutually beneficial outcome, and in the best interests of the airline itself, these elements must be weeded out,” ALPA said.

The union was also adamant that the airline should implement a proper restructuring plan, including a proper trimming exercise to avoid a situation of “too many chiefs and no Indians,” at an “undeniably very top heavy” Air Malta.

“The company mustn’t use this pandemic as an excuse to undermine collective agreements which are in force till the end of 2022,” ALPA said.

It also stressed that it had repeatedly submitted its proposals for a 50% pay cut covering the duration of the pandemic, but said that the airline has yet to provide an adequate explanation for its rejection of these proposals.

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