Former Air Malta pilots recruited by Malta Med Air after their dismissal were in a situation of “fake self-employment”, with risks to their health and safety, ALPA, the Airline Pilots Association, claimed in a judicial protest on Wednesday.

The protest was filed against the Prime Minister, the ministers for the economy and tourism, Malta Air Travel Limited and Air Malta, calling upon the relative authorities to immediately stop the abuse and on the government to honour its obligations. 

It said it was shameful that, in the 21st century, precarious work conditions were offered to vulnerable individuals who ended up jobless after decades of service to the national airline, referring to six-monthly contracts on a self-employed basis, subject to a month’s termination notice.

Such contracts deprived the officers, all ALPA members, of basic guarantees such as vacation and sick leave as well as maternity leave, divesting them of those rights which they were bound to enjoy by virtue of their collective agreement and employment legislation. 

This precarious employment, ALPA said, meant that the government was seeking to expand Malta Med Air by denying ALPA members the contractual rights which it was bound to guarantee.

The Economy Minister recently spoke of plans by Malta Med Air to expand its operations in the coming weeks.

This, ALPA said, was clearly contrary to what former Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi had said, namely that government had no plans for Malta Med Air to evolve into a “fully fledged airline”.

The current situation placed a disproportionate burden on the pilots engaged by Malta Air and presented risks to their health and safety, said ALPA, calling upon the authorities to immediately desist from such “abusive behaviour” and adding it would hold them responsible for the resulting physical and psychological damages. 

The judicial protest was signed by lawyer Andrè Portelli. 

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