Serving Air Malta pilots have turned down an offer by the airline that would have seen their recently-dismissed colleagues reinstated, albeit at reduced pay.

Air Malta said in a statement on Tuesday evening that on the basis of a vote taken by 53 pilots still in employment, the Airline Pilots Association (ALPA) had refused an offer that would have seen the reinstatement of all flight deck crew, including the 69 pilots who were made redundant. 

At the end of July the pilots had voted to take industrial action in protest over the dismissal of their colleagues and breaches of the collective agreement and conditions of employment.

The pilots were sacked in June after refusing to have their salaries reduced to the level requested by the airline amid the COVID-19 slowdown.

Pay cuts in new offer

Air Malta said on Tuesday its offer meant that most of the pilots would have had to accept a pay cut while maintaining most of their “favourable rostering practices” at a time when the airline faced “unprecedented challenges” with “considerably decreased revenue” and ongoing high costs in operations.

The airline's offer would have seen the currently employed pilots accept a 20% reduction in their basic pay with the 69 redundant pilots being re-employed at 50% of their previous basic pay. All pilots would have seen their basic pay increase to 90% in April 2022 and revert to full basic pay in April 2023. Fixed allowances would be paid in full throughout. 

The 69 returning pilots would have had to relinquish their retirement scheme which currently entitles the Air Malta crew to receive a payout of about €800,000 at age 55. All pilots would also have had to drive themselves to work, forfeiting a legacy practice of having a chauffeur-driven car to pick them up for duty. 

Air Malta said the conditions it had offered reflected what it could sustain in challenging conditions as a result of the effects of the pandemic. 

It said it was disappointed by the outcome of the vote, following efforts to retain all pilots in employment at a time when the industry had seen more than 90,000 pilots worldwide made redundant.  

Air Malta said it remained committed to ensuring sustainability in the interests of its staff and the nation.  

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