[WATCH] Air Malta pilots’ wage demands ‘need to be realistic’, minister warns

Airline’s financial position remains ‘dire and negotiations on salaries must be sustainable’, tourism minister Konrad Mizzi reiterates

Pilots have made a number of demands to the airline’s management, one of which included a 30% increase in their basic pay
Pilots have made a number of demands to the airline’s management, one of which included a 30% increase in their basic pay
Tourism minister Konrad Mizzi said pilots' wage demands needed to be realistic in order to ensure the airline's survival

Tourism minister Konrad Mizzi has cast doubts on the sustainability of Air Malta pilots being given a 30% pay-rise, insisting that the airline’s financial state was still dire and that the company’s survival was the government’s first priority.

“The negotiations on salary need to be sustainable,” he said when asked whether a 30% increase was sustainable.

“We need to make sure that it is a solvent company, so obviously all stakeholders need to understand, very clearly, that whatever demands are made need to be sustainable.”

Last year, MaltaToday reported that pilots had made a number of demands to the airline’s management, one of which included a 30% increase in their basic pay, to €48,000 and then up to €92,000 before additional payments, apart from backdated increments since the expiry of the collective agreement in 2016.

Mizzi said that the airline was currently in talks with ALPA – the pilots’ union – on a new long-term collective agreement, and the hope was that an agreement could be reached that would provide sustainability and flexibility to the airline.

“We need pilots to fly more hours and to fly in accordance with EASA flight-time regulations. This additional flexibility will provide the airline the change to compete and further reduce its costs,” said the minister.

On Sunday, MaltaToday also reported how Mizzi offered pilots a 5% increase in salaries against longer flying hours, an offer that was not welcomed by pilots union ALPA.

Talk of industrial action has already been mooted over outstanding pay rises, a pilot who spoke to this newspaper said.

Pilots’ rest time between flights is established in their collective agreement however the airline would like for this to be changed, and moved closer to the European Aviation Safety Agency’s (EASA) legal limits. Pilots are afforded longer rest periods under their collective agreement than they would be if the company stuck to the European legal limits. 

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