69 Air Malta pilots made redundant

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Air Malta has made 69 of its pilots redundant, the airline said in a statement, arguing that the Airline pilots’ union (ALPA) “failed to cooperate.”

Talks between the airline and the union have been ongoing for many weeks in an attempt to find a middleground that would not result in any loss of jobs.

Air Malta stated on Friday evening that talks with ALPA on measures to avoid redundancies in order to safeguard its ongoing sustainability and viability, failed.

“After numerous lengthy meetings, Air Malta and the union did not reach an agreement and consequently the Airline was left with no other choice but to proceed with the redundancies of 69 of its pilots.”

The Airline said that while the other unions representing the rest of its workforce understood the need to accept changes required to safeguard their livelihood, ALPA instead “resorted to making unreasonable demands at a time when the airline’s revenue has been severely compromised due to the current Covid-19 pandemic.”

Air Malta “regrets the stance ALPA has taken to the detriment of its members, which forced the airline to take the undesired action with the resultant consequences to a large segment of its pilot workforce. Air Malta remains committed to ensure the connectivity of the Islands to its major core European routes and its ongoing sustainability to the benefit of the remainder of its workforce and the Maltese economy it so supports.”

In a statement, the Economy Ministry said that ALPA was asking for a €73 million retirement scheme (around €700,000 for each pilot), and said that this was the reason for the lack of agreement.

Economy Minister Silvio Schembri said that ALPA’s actions “attempted to place a stranglehold on Airmalta’s existence by making unreasonable demands at a sensitive moment when the airline’s operations and revenue have been severely compromised due to the Covid-19 pandemic.”

The Minister “regrets the stance taken by ALPA to the detriment of its members, forcing the airline to take this undesired but unavoidable decision.”

The Government, the statement read, “recognises and thanks the other unions representing the remainder of Airmalta’s employees, for accepting the necessary changes to the collective agreements, required to safeguard their employment and the airline.”

The Government said it will remain committed to support the company’s and its employees’ efforts to remain sustainable.

“AirMalta will continue to operate and remains committed to ensure sufficient connectivity for the tourism industry to its core routes, and its sustainability to the benefit of its workforce and the Maltese economy.”