Air Malta has welcomed a vote by its cabin crew agreeing to a company proposal to reduce salaries to €1,200 per month in a bid to save jobs amid the COVID-19 crisis, but it warned that it may not be enough.

The airline has asked all of its workers' trade unions to agree to a wage cut as the pandemic ground its operations almost to a halt. When the unions representing pilots and cabin crews refused, it started procedures to lay off 108 pilots and 139 cabin crew. A further 145 cabin crew who are on a fixed-term contract have already been told that their employment will not be extended following the expiry of its current term.  

All trade unions have now agreed to the proposal, except the pilots' union, which is insisting on further talks.

The engineers' union had been the first to accept the airline's proposal.

The airline said the acceptance by the Union of Cabin Crew came after multiple deadlines.

"It is regretful that only after the unavoidable process of redundancies notified to the Department of Industrial and Employment Relations (DIER) was initiated,
that the UCC decided to put the company’s proposal to a vote," the airline said.

Only through a comprehensive permanent agreement with all the unions will the company feel it has the required assurances to reconsider its position

"Considering the UCC’s intransigence during previous discussions aimed at avoiding redundancies, the trust between the union and the company has been severely dented. The company is not confident that the UCC will cooperate as required and is concerned that the company might be in the same position
in four weeks’ time when the proposals would have to be reviewed with the Department of Industrial Relations," it added.

"The vote accepting to implement certain measures proposed to the unions for a four week period is no longer sufficient to give the company the reassurances it requires. The UCC was informed that a longer-term solution is required, from  both ALPA and the UCC, for the company to have the peace of mind that it will not find itself in the same position, or worse, in a matter of weeks or months."

The airline said it is willing to discuss and agree on a deep process of restructuring of a permanent nature intended to achieve a package which will ensure that the company can survive the post COVID period and be sustainable and viable going forward.

"Only through a comprehensive permanent agreement with all the unions will the company feel it has the required assurances to reconsider its position."

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