Air Malta cabin crew sign five-year collective agreement

Thew new collective agreement will see crew earning more per flight, while working more hours than they currently do
 

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Yannick Pace
6 December 2017, 2:19pm
Air Malta and the Union of Cabin Crew signed a new collective agreement this afternoon, after months of negotiations.

The deal, which will be valid for a period of five years, will see crew earning more per flight, while working more hours than they currently do.

Addressing a press conference before the signing, Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi described the agreement as a "symbol of the partnership between Air Malta and its cabin crew".

He said that it would give the airline increased flexibility that will be necessary for it to return to profitability.

The new collective agreement will give the airline increased flexibility that will be necessary for it to return to profitability
The new collective agreement will give the airline increased flexibility that will be necessary for it to return to profitability
He stressed that while cabin crew had made gains in terms of their remuneration, the company had also secured more flexibility in the rosters of Cabin Crew.

"[In this way] the company can grow, which is why we will be adding over 2,000 flights next year," said Mizzi, adding that the agreement would also allow the airline to recruit new cabin crew workers according to it's requirements.

Mizzi, along with the airline's management have repeatedly emphasised that the airline must conclude all collective agreements by the end of the year in order for it to move forward with its plans for expansion. There are currently three pending collective agreements to be agreed upon, including on with the pilots union, ALPA, and a further two with the General Workers Union over the airline's ground handling employees.

Replying to questions from journalists, the minister said he expected one of the agreements with the GWU to be concluded in the coming days.

Tourism Konrad Mizzi addressing the press conference.
Tourism Konrad Mizzi addressing the press conference.
Air Malta chairman Charles Mangion too stressed that negotiations had sought a balance between the interests of company and employees over next five years.

He said that the fact that 71% of union members had approved the new deal meant that they had appreciated it was a balanced deal, had also understood and gotten behind the airline's plans for the airlines expansion.

"They understood the opportunities this deal offers today and in the future," said Mangion. "The underlying principle is this balance."

Mangion reiterated that the company was offering the unions it was engaged in.talks with the maximum it could afford.

"We are not talking about a company operating in a monopoly but one trying to survive in a very competitive and dynamic market," said the chairman.

He added that despite the fact that talks were still ongoing, he was optimistic an agreement would be reached with the remaining unions.

Air Malta chairman Charles Mangion at the press conference.
Air Malta chairman Charles Mangion at the press conference.
Union president Noel Mercieca the agreement was the result of six years of hard work, during which the unions members had come to appreciate the need for changes leading to more flexibility and productivity.

The need for a 'generational change'

President emeritus George Abela, who oversaw the negotiations said the agreement sent a message about generational change Air Malta needed.

"It is the first step in the right direction," he said, adding that over the years, work practices had been created whereby certain decisions which should have been in the management's hands had shifted to the workers.

Using onboard service as an example, Abela said such decisions should be made by the company's management, something the union had acknowledged.

He said that as of next year, in-flight service on Air Malta flights would be improved and the union had committed itself to being a part of this improved service.

Asked what gains were expected on the part of the airline, when considering higher wages and more flying hours, Mangion explained that this depending on the number of flights operated but said that, at the full capacity, and a daily utilisation of aircraft of 14 hours, Air Malta would be spending some €16 million on wages and a turnover of €100 million.

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Yannick joined MaltaToday as a journalist in 2016. His main areas of interest are politics...