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Update: Court upholds Air Malta’s injunction to stop action by ALPA

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Injunction filed by Air Malta against the pilots' union

Update – Air Malta filed an injunction this morning to stop ALPA, the airline pilots’ union, from delaying its flights. The airline said that the Court has upheld Air Malta’s request and temporarily stopped the industrial action.

The Court will be convening next Friday, the 5th of July to discuss this injunction.

The airline said that ALPA had issued directives to its members to take industrial action from today, initially in the form of a 30-minute delay on all flights, “despited expectations by the company that good sense would prevail.”

According to Air Malta, the action by the union “is a consequence to the Government of Malta, Air Malta’s major shareholder, to decline the request to guarantee the pilots’ early retirement scheme pay-out, which sees individual pilots getting some €700,000 each at age 55.”

“ALPA made it clear that it had other demands to make soon after having signed a new collective agreement in January last year, and has raised multiple issues with the company,” the airline said.

The Company, in what it described as “an effort to maintain industrial peace and avoid prejudicing its operations,” has entertained discussions with ALPA and has “bent over backwards” to achieve a compromise position which, while allowing it to compete as effectively as possible, would appease the pilots and avoid disruptions.

On the 28th of June, following almost 18 months of discussions, amid various challenges, including threatened industrial action from the pilots themselves, Air Malta and ALPA reached a compromise position on all matters under discussion, it said.

During the meeting itself, Air Malta said that ALPA declared that if the Government “did not accept to grant the guarantees ALPA was after, it would take industrial action as of the 1 July.”

Air Malta acknowledge that taking industrial action is a right protected by law, “such right is not unrestricted and Air Malta cannot bear the consequence of a disagreement between its employees and its shareholder,” the airline said.

Air Malta argued that ALPA’s demands “do not even qualify as a trade dispute, thereby forfeiting the immunity granted by law to the union and its members for acts done in furtherance of a trade dispute.”

It added that ALPA also failed to give adequate notice of such action to the company in terms of the collective agreement.

Air Malta concluded by saying that it will “quantify the damages suffered as a consequence of the illegal action taken and will seek to recover such damages from the pilots.”

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