The Air Malta pilots’ association [ALPA] this evening claimed intimidation of its members by the airline and said it will be calling an Extraordinary General meeting “to decide on the way forward”.
Air Malta has filed a court case against airline pilots association ALPA and members of its executive committee, asking the court to declare last month’s industrial action illegal in breach of the collective agreement and therefore not covered by the legal protections of an industrial dispute. The airline has also demanded compensatory damages.
In a statement, ALPA said recalled how the airline “has filed a court case against its own pilots” and is seeking damages for the industrial action that was taken on 1 July.
The industrial action had been halted after a few hours, through the issue of a Warrant of Prohibitory Injunction by the Courts of Malta.
ALPA, in a scathing statement, said, “These judicial proceedings represent yet another attempt at undermining our members’ freedom of association and their liberty to conduct negotiations in their best interests, as well as at dissuading them from insisting on the observance of the rights deriving from the Collective Agreement currently in force.”
ALPA reiterated that “negotiations relating to the amendment of the Collective Agreement which is currently in force had failed due to the continued involvement of the Chief Flight Operations Officer, Emvic Debono, as well as his intimidation of our members.”
ALPA stressed that it will accordingly be “protecting its members’ prerogatives by resorting to the appropriate legal channels in order to restore the necessary equilibrium which is fundamental to every employment relationship”.
It also said it will be calling an Extraordinary General Meeting in order to decide on the way forward.
In its application filed before the First Hall of the Civil Court, Air Malta said it knows “for a fact” that the reason behind the industrial action was that the Association and its members were expecting guarantees from the government (who has a 99% shareholding in Air Malta) about their pay. On the other hand, ALPA has insisted in the past that the action had been taken over a dispute about threats and intimidation by the flight operations chief in April 2019.