New national airline imposes four-year wage freeze

Several benefits enjoyed by Air Malta employees are no longer included.

 

Aqra bil-Malti

All KM Malta Airlines employees, including former Air Malta pilots and cabin crew, will not see an increase in their basic wages for at least the next four years.

Contracts seen by The Shift show that, apart from implementing a mandatory wage freeze (adjusted only for the cost of living), the government has significantly changed the terms for all employees of the airline that replaced Air Malta. The new conditions resemble those of low-cost airlines such as Ryanair and easyJet.

As a result, employees at KM Malta will now be expected to work longer hours and receive lower take-home pay compared to their previous roles at Air Malta.

The new contracts state that employees of the ‘new’ airline will have their basic salary fixed for the next 48 months – until April 2028 – and won’t be able to take a higher basic pay, even if their union negotiates a new collective agreement.

Meanwhile, KM Malta Airlines, wholly owned by the government, has not recognised any unions that used to represent Air Malta employees, and no collective agreement exists.

Significant changes were also made in the number of salary scales for all employees, making it harder and longer to move from one salary scale to another.

Moreover, benefits enjoyed by former Air Malta employees, such as retirement schemes, long service bonuses, additional vacation leave tied to years of service, and sick leave carryover, have been removed.

The new airline has also removed all transport facilities that Air Malta used to provide to pilots and cabin crew.

Pilots, flight attendants, and other airline staff will now be required to commute to their workplace using their own transport, regardless of their flight times. The new airline will provide free parking facilities for crew members.

Another change is the crew commissions, which are now capped at just 10%, far lower than those of Air Malta. The commission is calculated based on how much on-board food and beverages the cabin crew manage to sell aboard a KM Malta flights.

KM Malta employees who spoke to The Shift on condition of anonymity complained about how the government was treating them but acknowledged that Air Malta had no future.

They noted that they were now paying the price for all the years of mismanagement while the top executives, such as Chairman David Curmi, were kept on.

The employees also expressed disappointment with their unions, particularly the General Workers Union, saying they felt they were “sold” and “betrayed”.

Air Malta folded at the end of March after years of incurring heavy losses.

The government had tried to obtain a new state aid package to keep the airline going through Finance Minister Clyde Caruana and Chairman David Curmi. The European Commissioners turned down the proposal.

It is estimated that the cosmetic change from Air Malta to KM Malta Airlines has already cost taxpayers approximately €300 million, but the government has refused to disclose its spend.

                           

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10 Comments
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S. Camilleri
S. Camilleri
1 month ago

“… but the government has refused to disclose its spend”. Typical. Nothing new to see here. Does not make it any less scandalous.

simon oosterman
simon oosterman
1 month ago

This is a good development. Run KM as a business instead of a benefit provider for ‘friends’. Let’s hope they keep it up and taxpayers get value for their money.

Paul Bonello
Paul Bonello
1 month ago

And what do you say for the previous chairman of the liquidated air Malta and his salary package in excess of Euro 200k?

C. C
C. C
1 month ago

Yepp, they work longer hours now with the same basic wage.. While their prices are triple the price of Ryanair xD

Joe Saliba
Joe Saliba
1 month ago

About time the government starts to treat KM employees as normal people and not Gods

Paul Bonello
Paul Bonello
1 month ago
Reply to  Joe Saliba

And is the Chairman at salary package in excess of Euro 200k “normal prople”?

saviour mamo
saviour mamo
1 month ago

I don’t have faith that the new airline will be a successful one . We missed the bus when Air Malta’s restructuring plan agreed with the EU was scrapped by the Labour Party in 2013.

Stephen Forster
Stephen Forster
1 month ago

It will not last 4 years.

Joseph Said
1 month ago

Best business practice is having everyone on board, including mangement.
In-nanna kienet tghidli li jekk hanut jew azjenda (holding) ghandek ghaxar zwiemel jigbdu naha u jkollok hmar jigbed naha ohra. Igib maghhom!!
KM Malta Airlines please note.

C. C
C. C
1 month ago

As usual, prices keep going up but wages remain basic and low

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