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GWU insists on equal treatment at Air Malta

The General Workers' Union said yesterday said it expected members at Air Malta to be treated like those of other unions whose benefits, according to the airline's CEO, were improved following talks.

The union said it had recognised the airline's "alarming" financial situation a while ago, when talks on a new collective agreement had started. In fact, the GWU said it had even proposed a freeze on salaries on condition that, for the time being, the same would happen for all employees at Air Malta.

However, in view of what Air Malta's CEO, Joe Cappello, told MaltaToday in an interview, the union said it expected the same treatment for its workers. In the interview, Mr Cappello was reported saying that a collective agreement was signed with pilots, cabin crew and the engineers' unions but not with the GWU. The first two, he was reported saying, had a substantial part of their remuneration expressed as a variable cost that changed with the number of flights they operated. The engineers agreed to a high level of flexibility and with a variable working week and rosters that changed in line with workload.

Mr Cappello said it was about time that an agreement was reached with the GWU following about two years of talks.

The union said it was prepared to strike an agreement acceptable to both parties. However, it added it would not accept that its members should be made to pay for mismanagement.

The airline fared very badly in the last financial year, facing losses from rising fuel costs, the international economic crisis and the crash of the sterling, with losses said to run into some €25 million.

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