Malta Air – a subsidiary company of Ryanair – has provided the first trauma for a group of employees almost a year after its establishment. In a letter to employees, the airline said it is trying to survive during the current pandemic but layoffs will be inevitable and this will effect 40 cabin crew members who have been informed their employment wil be terminated in a month’s time. Sources close to the company said that pilots have agreed to a salary decrease in a measure to avoid layoffs.
Forty out of about 120 crew members of Malta Air, a subsidiary of Ryanair, were notified by letter late yesterday evening that with effect from 30 June their employment is being terminated as a result of the effects of Covid-19. It is not excluded that at least 20 pilots will be made redundant in the coming days.
The company’s action in giving notice of redundancy to the staff came when the process has only just started for th2e General Workers’ Union to be recognised as the union representing the majority of the workers. GWU General Secretary Josef Bugeja told TVM the union was taken by surprise with these redundancies, also because to date, Malta Air has not replied to the request for recognition which was made nearly three weeks ago. Bugeja added that the process for recognition was also started with the director of labour and industrial relations. Mr Bugeja stresses that the union expects to be consulted about these redundancies, and seeks to find a compromise.
Malta Air employs a total of 179 staff, of which 85% joined the General Workers’ Union. Television Malta has a copy of the letter which Malta Air sent to its crew members on Wednesday, informing them that unless, within 48 hours, they accepted a 10% reduction in salary for a five-year period, there would be redundancies on a last in-first out basis.
On the following day, the crew members and some of Malta Air’s senior officials, including a representative of the Chief Executive, the head of Human Resource and the Financial Controller held a virtual meeting during which the Malta Air management explained the situation. The workers said the management had ignored all questions put to them by the workers.
Staff who spoke with Television Malta said they understood the present extraordinary situation and were prepared to accept a reduction in salary, but not for five years as imposed by the company without any consultations or discussions. The staff are calling on the Government to intervene and help towards a solution, for everyone’s benefit.