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Court upholds prohibitory injunction by pilots’ association to stop redundancies

ALPA said it was surprised by the announcement of job cuts as discussions were still ongoing.

Updated to include ALPA statement.

The court has upheld a request for a warrant of prohibitory injunction filed by the pilots’ union, ALPA, on Sunday to stop Air Malta from making 69 of its pilots redundant.

The prohibitory injunction comes following a surprise announcement on Friday in which the management of the national airline said 69 pilots would be laid off after talks between the union and the government had broken down.

The request for a warrant of prohibitory injunction was upheld by Judge Toni Abela.

ALPA addressed statements by “high ranking politicians and officials”, saying in reality the Executive Committee was approached by Air Malta to enter into discussions relating to the possibility of the Association renouncing to its rights protected by clauses in the Collective Agreement currently in force, including rights relating to the clauses regulating early retirement.

Saying it was “setting the record straight”, ALPA said that following professional advice, the devalued global amount of €73 million for the possible creation of a Third Pillar Pension Scheme was fair.

The last meeting between the company and ALPA was held on 2 June. The union said it was waiting to be notified of the dates for follow-up meetings.

“The Association finds it particularly strange that the decision to terminate the employment of 69 pilots, as well as to demote a number of Captains, was communicated to our members at 11pm on 5 June. This comes barely 48 hours after ALPA was assured that redundancies were no longer on the table,” the association said in a statement.

It noted it was also “peculiar” that the sender of such letters, the chief of Human Resources, James Genovese, has just recently been promoted to this position.

The court upheld ALPA’s request, stalling the government’s intention to fire a large number of its pilots, and giving Air Malta six days to file a reply. A court hearing will be held on 15 June on the case.

The airline had said that it took this decision as it was unable to meet the pilot’s “unreasonable demands”. ALPA said it was surprised by Air Malta’s decision as talks were ongoing.

Following Friday’s announcement, the union had also refuted the claims made by the national airline, saying Air Malta’s statement attempted to cover up the true state of affairs. The union said that fresh discussions with the company’s chairman Charles Mangion had led to assurances that no jobs would be lost while negotiations were ongoing.

The pilots’ union said it was surprised by the company’s announcement of because of the positive comments made by both Mangion and Economy Minister Silvio Schembri.

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