Air Malta set to sign agreement with pilots' union ALPA

ALPA said that it had never, officially, demanded an early retirement deal

Air Malta said that an agreement had been reached with the pilots' union
Air Malta said that an agreement had been reached with the pilots' union

Air Malta has said that it is ready to sign an agreement reached with ALPA, the union representing the airline's pilots. 

In a statement, Air Malta said that local reports had written that the Airline Pilots Association had filed a sworn reply in court on Saturday to deny claims that it turned to industrial action because the government refused to guarantee a €700,000 early retirement deal.

"If this is so, there are no pending issues between both parties and the airline is willing to sign the version of the text proposed by ALPA on the 29 June 2019," Air Malta wrote in a statement.

The airline said that an agreement has been reached by both parties and that it airline had "unambiguously" informed ALPA to propose a date for the signing.

"The airline was surprised to receive a response alluding to further discussions and negotiations, when none up to that point were required or requested," Air Malta said, adding that ALPA President had raised the early retirement packages as a condition for negotiations in a meeting with the tourism minister. 

"ALPA had always insisted that unless the government gives job guarantees to the pilots, no agreement can ever be reached," Air Malta said.

"This was recently re-iterated by the present Vice President of ALPA, where he insisted that no agreement would be signed unless government guarantees are given.

"The agreement Air Malta reached with ALPA this June 2019 would clear all matters which were being discussed since May 2018 and is intended to provide a framework for pilots and Air Malta to work together towards further growth of the Airline," the statement read.

In a statement, ALPA said that it has filed its sworn reply in the record of the judicial proceedings filed by Air Malta in order to rebut "false and baseless allegations relating to the true reason underlying the industrial action exercised by our pilots on 1st July, 2019, particularly allegations that this was a direct consequence of the Government’s failure to provide guarantees relative to the Early Retirement Scheme in the amount of €700,000 per pilot."

The union said that its name had been smeared all over the media and that to date it had never been consulted in relation to any proposed or anticipated developments in the local aviation scene.

It also dismissed Air Malta's allegations that it had ever officially made a demand for an early retirement deal amounting to €700,000.