Air Malta cabin crew have approved a deal with the national carrier to safeguard 100% of jobs through sacrifices on working conditions.
“As a Government we will continue to assist to see that we help the company as much as we can,” explains Malta’s Economy Minister Silvio Schembri. Schembri noted that while the latest agreement is a significant step in reducing company operating costs, the same is necessary from pilot union ALPA, who have yet to agree on a deal.
Schembri also revealed the government’s intention to aid the airline financially, something which the International Air Transport Association (IATA) describes as the only way out of this crisis. The minister noted, however, that the airline would first need to become more efficient.
In an interview with AeroNewsX last month, former Air Malta CEO, Philip Micallef, noted that job cuts would result in a weakening of the airline’s long-term competitiveness.
“Air Malta has to retain its talented and skilled people as much as possible. It should avoid cutting jobs at this stage. Now is not a time to cut jobs but to retain and seek financial assistance so that when demand picks up again it can quickly ramp up,” Micallef said.
Over the past couple of months, Air Malta’s relationship with pilot union ALPA has deteriorated. In a statement in April, ALPA questioned “the wisdom” of Air Malta Chief Executive, Captain Clifford Chetcuti. This came after Air Malta notified the Department of Industrial and Employment Relations (DIER) of its intention to layoff 108 pilots, representing 80% of its cockpit workforce without consulting the union. Furthermore, the union accused the CEO of ‘creating negative undercurrents’.