Current Affairs
Air Malta will be forced to declare lay-offs unless salary cuts are accepted

Air Malta has informed the Department for Industrial Relations and Employment that in the light of the current stoppage of flights it has to drastically reduce its workforce after no agreement was reached with the unions regarding salary reductions.

tvm.com.mt is informed that the national airline is expected to lay-off 250 employees, these being pilots and cabin crew members.

In recent weeks the airline has been reduced to two daily flights compared to the previous average of 20 daily flights and resultantly, after no agreement was reached for a salary reduction with the unions, Air Malta has informed it will have to terminate 139 persons on an indefinite contract and a further 145 employees on a fixed contract.

The airline’s notification letter said it will carry out the lay-offs according to industrial regulations legislation, that is, on a last-in/first-out basis and these will be compensated according to legislation. Air Malta has proposed that the first consultation meeting will take place on Thursday  morning.

In a letter to its members the Union for Cabin Crews said it has been involved in recent days in discussions with Air Malta but in the light of the letter sent to the Industrial Relations Department, it is proposing that on Saturday its members will vote on counter-proposals including that cabin crews on a definite contract accept a basic salary of €1,200 monthly.

It has also been reported that the 108 pilots out of a total of 134 pilots will be laid off after the Association of Pilots ALPA refused a reduction to a basic salary of €1,200 monthly as aircraft are grounded.

It is understood that the Association of Aero Engineers have accepted the €1,200 offer after taking a vote of 90% that approved the proposal.

The airline said that it had offered the unions which represent the different sectors of employees within the company to agree on a basic salary of €1,200 per month. With this salary, no employee would lose their job, including those on a definite contract.  Air Malta CEO, Captain Clifford Chetcuti, said that the unions had forced the company’s hand.

“While the company had come to an agreement on a social package with a wide range of employees, we are disappointed that the pilots’ union and the cabin crew union did not understand the extent of the problems which the company, like all other global airlines, is experiencing.  They did not accept our proposals for the company to be saved in this crisis, which is expected to last quite a few months. Therefore, because of a lack of cooperation we were left with no choice but to inform the Employment Director that the company has the intention of terminating the employment of pilots and cabin crew in these extraordinary circumstances.”

In a statement, ALPA said that it had never refused the proposals which had been put forward to its members and it was ready to shoulder the burden after assurance is given that an effective consultation process had taken place.  The association also said that the Air Malta’s CEO should be transparent about his salary and benefits and what kind of cut he would be taking as should the rest of the company’s management.

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