Air Malta Faces More Industrial Action

Updated: Jul 2, 2019

Air Malta has once again filed an injunction against its main pilot union, ALPA, after it announced it would ask its members to delay flights by about 30 minutes effective today.

Air Malta took delivery of its first Airbus A320NEO last year. Photo: AeroNewsX/Chris de Breun

While the delays aren’t major, this isn’t the first time Air Malta has been pressured by the union over working conditions and pay. In June last year, ALPA pilots decided to go on strike, after the two parties failed to come up with an agreement.

Back in January 2018, Air Malta announced that ALPA and themselves had come up with a solution. However, ALPA had “made it clear that it had other demands to make and had raised multiple issues with the company.”

As of 1 July, 2019, ALPA will go on strike once more. Despite Air Malta having said that they had finally come to an agreement on July 28, the ‘relief’ was short lived, according to ALPA.

The pilot union then threatened to go on strike and said that "if the government did not accept to grant the guarantees ALPA was after, it would take industrial action as of the 1 July 2019.”

But what do ALPA want?

It is, of course, money related. Air Malta’s major shareholders and the Maltese government recently denied ALPA’s request for an early retirement pay-out scheme, which would see each pilot obtain an additional EUR700,000 when they reach the age of 55. This in turn, prompted the strike.

Tourism minister, Konrad Mizzi, praised for turning around Air Malta, described the request as ‘ridiculous’.

“Pilots ordered industrial action to delay flights as from midnight. Government will NOT bow to pressure and provide ridiculous guarantees on Early Retirement Schemes,” Mizzi said in a Tweet.

What Has Air Malta Done?

Air Malta believes that the industrial action which begun earlier today, is ‘illegal’ and has therefore submitted a request with the court to prevent it.

“Air Malta requested the court to stop ALPA from taking illegal action. Taxpayer funds will NOT guarantee retirement packages of 700,000 euros for each pilot,” Konrad Mizzi explained in a Tweet.

So far, nothing has happened, with flights departing around, as the union promised, around 30 minutes late. Currently, around 15 flights have been affected at the time of writing. Stay tuned to our Instagram & Twitter pages to stay up to date with the latest on the situation.

UPDATE: The court has temporarily suspended the industrial action, and will hear the case on July 5, according to Konrad Mizzi.

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