Air Malta strike ban cheers tourism officials

Malta’s Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi has welcomed a court’s decision to prohibit Air Malta’s pilots from taking industrial action in a dispute over pay and working conditions.

The judgment was welcomed by Mizzi on Tuesday, who tweeted that the “abuse of the right to strike had been curtailed.”

The industrial action was ordered after the airline turned down a pilots’requested guarantee that they would get an early retirement sum when they reach 55 years old even if the airline folds.

“Air Malta affirms that this is a cover up, concocted by ALPA(the Airline Pilots Association), after it realized the unacceptability of its demands in the form of government guarantees,” the airline had said in a statement.

But Maltese newspaper MaltaToday said that industrial action, which would have seen flights delayed by 30 minutes, was actually called after the union claimed that talks on employment conditions between the two parties could not take place with the continued participation of the airline’s chief flight operations officer, who had allegedly waged a campaign of “threats and intimidation” against union members.

The court ruled that the injunction, which had been provisionally upheld upon its presentation, was to stand and that ALPA be prohibited from taking industrial action.