Air Malta has pressed ahead with its plan to sack 69 of its pilots despite a court order to suspend the terminations, a union said on Monday. 

In a statement, FORUM said that most of the airline’s pilots had been barred from accessing their online company accounts and that Air Malta had issued amended rosters based on a list of pilots “arbitrarily chosen by the company”. 

It said that it was keeping a close eye on the situation and would act in the interests of employees. 

Air Malta announced late on Friday that it had decided to make more than half of its pilots redundant, saying talks with pilots’ union ALPA had gone nowhere. The Economy Ministry said that talks had broken down after ALPA demanded a €73 million early retirement guarantee for its members. 

ALPA reacted by seeking – and obtaining – a warrant of prohibitory injunction against the airline, temporarily blocking the terminations from being brought into effect. The union says that Air Malta is using the COVID-19 slowdown as a pretext to sack pilots and that negotiations were not in good faith. 

In its statement, FORUM said that airline chairman Charles Mangion had assured ALPA’s committee that the airline was not planning terminations for as long as talks about pilots’ collective agreement were under way. 

“It is deplorable to backtrack from such assurances in such delicate negotiations,” FORUM said. 

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