[WATCH] Pilots union's guarantee not to force cancellation of Air Malta flights

The pilots’ union pledges not to cancel any flights whilst Air Malta’s legal representative confirms Air Malta is €66 million in the red

Pilots' union guarantees not to force cancellation of Air Malta flights

The pilots’ union has dispelled concerns that it would force Air Malta to cancel flights in any industrial strike it could undertake.

Judge Silvio Meli will now deliberate on an injunction filed by Air Malta in a bid to stop the Airline Pilots Association (ALPA) from taking industrial action as the national airline is in talks with Alitalia for the sale of 49% of its shares.

ALPA’s legal representative Edward Gatt reassured Air Malta before the Judge that no Air Malta flights would be cancelled through any industrial action taken by the union in its industrial dispute with the airline.

Gatt recorded a formal statement, categorically stating that Air Malta will not lose any flights through any action taken by ALPA in its industrial dispute with the airline.

Louis de Gabriele, legal representative for Air Malta, in a recorded statement, reconfirmed that the airline at present had €66 million in negative equity.

In his submission, de Gabriele insisted that strike action by the pilots’ union would be disproportionate to the effect it could cause, since it could very well lead to the airline’s collapse.

With the airline already in dire financial straits, strike action by the pilots at this critical time, when Air Malta was negotiating with Alitalia for the sale of 49% of shares in the company, would be fatal.

He suggested that the pilots had in fact chosen to threaten the airline with industrial action at this moment because they recognised Air Malta was in a weak position, with the Summer season at its peak and the negotitations with Alitalia still unconcluded.

De Gabriele said Air Malta was not in any way questioning the pilots’ right to strike, but was only questioning the timing of it.

But Gatt, for ALPA, said the workers’ right to strike when faced with uncertainty over their employment, could not be simply out on hold while the airline sorted its affairs.

He refuted claims that industrial action at this moment would have a disproportionate effect, and said the union was making it clear that it any strike action would not lead to cancellation of flights for Air Malta.

After hearing both parties' final submissions, Judge Meli adjourned the hearing for judgement.

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