AIR MALTA UNIONS PUT AIRLINE UNDER PRESSURE

Dino D'Amore
By Dino D'Amore July 11, 2011 19:44

AIR MALTA UNIONS PUT AIRLINE UNDER PRESSURE

Four trade unions representing Air Malta workers turned up the pressure on the airline yesterday calling for a national demonstration next Friday in Valletta to protest against the way in which its restructuring, and the job losses the exercise entails, is being handled. In the meantime, the Airline Pilots Association Malta (ALPA) yesterday renewed its threat to strike and ground the airline should its demands regarding the restructuring exercise not be met. The demands, according to ALPA President Dominic Azzopardi, include the union being informed of the government’s “real” plans as regard its contracts with Malta International Airport and low cost airlines. The General Workers’ Union yesterday banded together with the Forum of Maltese Unions – which counts ALPA, the Association of Airline Engineers and the Union of Cabin Crew amongst its ranks – to call for the demonstration which, GWU secretary general Tony Zarb insisted, was not against the airline but rather for the airline.

In the meantime, Air Malta chairman Louis Farrugia has launched a public appeal, in an advertisement in today’s local press in which he says it is “vital that we all work together, and any threat of industrial action can only serve to damage Air Malta, its future prospects, and its very existence”. He highlights how the airline has been haemorrhaging financially, to the tune of losses of €110 million over the last five years, and that if the airline is to save the 800 jobs it expects to retain, “radical change” at the airline is necessary.  He also stated that job losses at the airline are inevitable: “A monumental change in culture is essential. Without this there is no future for Air Malta.”

Dino D'Amore
By Dino D'Amore July 11, 2011 19:44
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