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Air Malta blames pilots' union for delays

Court upholds request to stop industrial action as ALPA slams 'false statement'

Updated at 1.45pm with ALPA reaction

A court has temporarily upheld an injunction by Air Malta to stop industrial action by the Airline Pilots Association (ALPA), in a dispute stemming from different interpretations of the collective agreement.

The airline applied for the warrant on Friday, saying that various "recommendations" by the union to its members had caused delays and even led to one flight being cancelled. It argued that the union had not followed mandatory conciliation and arbitration procedures laid down in the collective agreement.

But in a reaction, ALPA said that the injunction was in relation to altogether different issues (see below). 

The airline explained that after the collective agreement was signed in January talks had been held ALPA on the interpretation of various parts.

"The way ALPA is interpreting these clauses is deemed disadvantageous and
unfair to Air Malta.

"Over the past months ALPA has issued several ‘recommendations’ to
its members to follow restrictive practices that limit flexibility and
productivity. These ‘recommendations’ have negatively affected the
airline and its customers and caused delays on several flights" the airline said.

A case in point happened on September 19 when a flight to Paris Orly had to be cancelled when ALPA advised its members not to accept the flight on an off-day when all standby pilots called in sick.

Air Malta said it would do everything in its power to protect its interests and
those of its passengers and minimise any disruptions.   

'False statement' - ALPA

Reacting, the pilots' union said the airline had put out a "false statement" and that the injunction filed with the courts concerned different issues. 

"Contrary to what Air Malta states, the injunction is with reference to a dispute filed last Friday by the union," ALPA said. 

That dispute concerned the way a pilot had been suspended by the airline, "illegal" rosters which were causing pilot fatigue and Air Malta's failure to guarantee pilots the 104 days off stipulated as their minimum. 

"This is shown by court documents," the union said. 

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