Air Malta’s future depends on efficiency and the best work practices – Tonio Fenech

Finance Minister Tonio Fenech says it is possible to bring Air Malta back on its feet without outsourcing certain sectors if everyone plays their part.

Finance Minister Tonio Fenech
Finance Minister Tonio Fenech

"Government recognizes that Air Malta serves the country and it is one of the pillars of this economy. Unfortunately - and something which the Opposition has recognized - over the years workers at Air Malta increased more than they were needed," Finance Minister Tonio Fenech said.

Speaking on Radju Malta's Ghandi X'Nghid, Fenech said Air Malta had been faced with a number of issues at the same time, which led to its economic situation to degenerate, leading to an urgent need of restructuring from top to bottom.

"Not with disrespect towards the previous management, but I felt that that the new realities were not being addressed. I wanted people with certain experience in aviation who would transform the airline," Fenech said.

"It is possible to bring our national airline back on its feet," he stressed, adding that one of the measures has to be reducing the number of workers.

"We are offering the best packages we can, also giving a substantial early retirement scheme to those who are closer to retirement age. That is why we are being more generous to those who are aged 55 and over."

Fenech also stressed on the importance of changing work practices. "I am not threatening anyone. But when Ernst and Young came to us with a proposal, they said ground handling needed to be outsourced. The unions begged us not to, saying they would present an efficient model," Fenech said.

The Finance Minister said that best practices would mean workers' unions and workers themselves understanding they cannot ask for a five-hour shift during winter hours when there would be no work during the night.

"If unions cannot accept that there has to be a change in practices, there would be no other alternative then for government to go for outsourcing."

The trade unions are to meet up next Monday with the workers to vote on the proposed package.

Speaking on funding of capital projects, Fenech said he aimed at changing the model by which capital projects are financed. Government has proposed the setting up of an invest company which would listed in the stock exchange.

"This entity would finance capital projects and government would then rent the space. This model could lead to more projects which would be better managed," Fenech said, adding that government cannot simply say he's going to invest in a project and let the debt be carried by coming generations.

Speaking on the University and stipends, Fenech said government will continue financing stipends as they are an incentive to increase the rate of students who continue their tertiary education.

"It is not about paying someone to study but supporting that person to study," Fenech said. "They do not increase with the cost of living because stipends are a supplement and not a pay."

On the University's reform, Fenech said the roadmap is ready as students are also embracing the need to change how the University is financed. The idea behind the reform is for government to finance the University according the courses it offers and the number of students who attend.

"This would help the University to better plan its financial matters while at the same time attracting more students and invest more. It would give the University freedom to invest independently of government," Fenech said.

The Finance Minister added it is expected that by next year a number of faculties partake in the pilot project, while a number of properties outside University will be passed on to the University for its expansion.

Replying to a phone-in which criticised the government for awarding the €500 to ministers, Fenech said that the timing of the pay was right, but the spin came three years later. "When the rise was given the economy was not in the same situation as last year. Obviously the spin came three years later which gave the wrong impression," Fenech said.

He added that no one was stopping people who wanted the €500 increase to contest elections: "Political life is made of sacrifices and we should give the politician that what is right."

He said that ministers receive less pay than people with certain technical qualities in the same market, and people should judge whether the increase was justified when they analyse how Malta fared during the economic crisis.

 

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Jeffrey Vella
WHAT MADE THE AIRMALTA EMPLOYEES BELIEVE THAT THEIR JOB WITH THE COMPANY WAS GUARANTEED ? MAYBE,THE MINISTER AND HIS BOSS SHOULD LOOK AT THOSE LOVELY LETTERS HE HAD SENT THEM BEFORE THE 2008 ELECTION ? THE MINISTER HAS SOME CHEEK TO TELL THE AIRMALTA EMPLOYEES TO MAKE SACRIFICES WHEN HE GOT A HEFTY 500 EURO RAISE PER WEEK.
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Luke Camilleri
Dear Dr. Tonio Fenech, It is also Malta's future not only, Air Malta’s future depends on efficiency and the best work practices ! ...... You should know that by now, pity you don't practice what you preach!
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Tonio Fenech, time for you to leave the post of finance minister to real Professionals and not wannabe professionals.
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The efficiency has been there already since the beginning...what about ALL the management, including supervisors who managed to put the real workers under their feet, and this government, is so long in power, that he still did not realize that all the damage is from Supervisors upwards. WHOEVER PROVES IT, ...GETS THE BLAME AND SUFFERS..THAT IS THE WAY OF THE THINKING OF THIS GOVERNMENT..WITHOUT ANY SENSE. I believe that the damage..will still be running in the future, as long there is this government. HEALTH AND SAFETY DOES NOT EXIST WITHIN SUCH AREAS IN AIRMALTA...AS LONG AS THEIR POCKETS ARE FULL.
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Quote He added that no one was stopping people who wanted the €500 increase to contest elections:Unquote Yeah right.Arrogance at its best! Dan ihabbata ma'Austin ghall-arroganza!
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Of course Air Malta will depend on efficiency and the work practice. Afterall its not run by the xi cuc malti. It is run by a hotelier who works four days week and the rest of the week is away looking after his hotel. Dan mhux cuc malti xi tghid tal Gunner?!
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L-Onorevoli MARIE LOUISE COLEIRO PRECA staqsiet lill-Onorevoli TONIO FENECH (Ministru tal-Finanzi, l-Ekonomija u Investiment): Jista' l-Ministru jgħid kemm kellha impjegati l-Air Malta fl-1987? Kemm ġew impjegati nies mal-Air Malta mill-1987, sena b'sena u skond il-gradi? Kemm telqu impjegati għax ħadu l-Voluntary Retirement Scheme, skond skema skema u sena b'sena minn meta ġiet introdotta? Kemm telqu ħaddiema għax irriżenjaw, mill-1987 sal-bidu tas-sena 2010? Kemm spiċċaw ħaddiema bl-età tal-irtirar, sena b'sena, mill-1987 sal-bidu tas-sena 2010? Kemm impjegat nies l-Air Malta fil-bidu tas-sena 2010 skond il-gradi? http://www.pq.gov.mt/pqweb.nsf/10491c99ee75af51c12568730034d5ee/c1256e7b003e1c2dc12576d20040f78b?OpenDocument
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Total Active Manpower Jan'87 1,146 Dec'87 1,450 Dec'88 1,464 Dec'89 1,415 Dec'90 1,357 Dec'91 1,410 Dec'92 1,428 Dec'93 1,503 Dec'94 1,739 Dec'95 1,716 Dec'96 1,720 Dec'97 1,721 Dec'98 1,706 Dec'99 1,814 Dec'00 1,883 Dec'01 1,866 Dec'02 1,883 Dec'03 1,813 Dec'04 1,741 Dec'05 1,688 Dec'06 1,491 Dec'07 1,422 Dec'08 1,352 Dec'09 1,377
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And what, may I ask, is preventing the government from going back to 2008 or at least decrease the amount of money they paid themselves? Many other European countries are doing as I speak. What's the problem? ''We should give the politician that which is right'' ( A. Fenech) Yes we should, but did it has to be 500 euros plus bonus and perks? Sometimes I wonder how neither Dr. Borg Olivier, Dom Mintoff or Dr. Fenech Adami never entered their mind?! Gonzi must be clever indeed!
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Since you knew about the excess wirkforce within the company why did you deceive the workers prior to the election by telling them that their employment was guaranteed with the pn in government?
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You may wish to listen to the whole show: http://andrewazzopardi.org/ghandi-x-nghid-radio-show/
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And what prevented the successive chairmen handpicked by the government from implementing these measures? Were they there only for the remuneration and perks? Did Air Malta have to come to this precarious situation to know what has to be done. Wasn't this obvious from the very beginning?