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MT 20 JULY 2016

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WWW.MALTATODAY.COM.MT WEDNESDAY EDITION €1.00 Newspaper post WEDNESDAY • 20 JULY 2016 • ISSUE 478 • PUBLISHED EVERY WEDNESDAY AND SUNDAY PG 9 • Editorial Air Malta pilots wanted €140 extra, not €50,000 Sources: pilots demanded €50,000 for all 118 pilots over three-month period, after expiry and during renegotiation of collective agreement JURGEN BALZAN EARNINGS negotiations be- tween Air Malta and the Airline Pilots Association (ALPA) have hit a snag, with both sides refus- ing to budge. Last week, Air Malta filed a court application to stop the un- ion from taking industrial action, with ALPA calling the move "a clear threat to the right of free association of workers." Despite the lack of progress in the talks, sources close to the negotiations told this newspaper that the legal action took the pilots by surprise because "it was not in line" with the mood and what was said during the meetings between the two par- ties. The move is being seen as an at- tempt to prolong the negot iat ion s by the air- line and the ne got i at i n g team being led by President emeri- tus George Abela. The union has also been enraged by what it described as "malicious" lies by Air Malta's chairperson, Maria Micallef, af- ter The Times reported that the pilots are demanding an increase of €50,000 in their take-home pay which would see the airline's ex- penditure on pilot wages increase by €6 million. But sources close to the nego- tiations said that the pilots' de- mands are a far cry from what was reported. MaltaToday is informed that the pilots' demands would cost the airline the total of €50,000 over a three month period and not €50,000 per pilot. The in- crease, worked on a points sys- tem, would see pilots earn an ad- ditional €140 a month on average. "This would be a stop gap solu- tion until a new collective agree- ment is signed," the sources said, adding that pilots have seen a €1,000 drop in their monthly wages over the past years since the number of Air Malta flights has decreased. Over the past years, Air Malta has seen its fleet of aircraft re- duced from 12 to eight as the airline undergoes a restructuring programme. MPs to be fined if they do not show up in Parliament TIM DIACONO MPS will be fined if they fail to turn up for parliamentary sessions without providing a justifiable ex- planation, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat announced. Further details – including what reasons will qualify as justifiable – will be included in a motion that the government will table in the House today. "People can't just decide when and where not to turn up for work, but politicians have so far been exempt from this rule," Muscat told a press conference at Castille. "Politicians strive hard and knock on many doors to attend Parliament; now we want them to actually attend the sittings." He toasted his Labour govern- ment as a "reformist" one that isn't afraid to challenge the status quo. "The government isn't trying to grab more power than it has, but rather wants to provide more checks and balances on power," he said, citing recent Bills that would revamp judicial appointments, ren- der Parliament financially autono- mous from government, and ap- point a commissioner for standards in public life. "It is these sort of reforms that strengthen the democratic institu- tions that make Malta a European country." Earlier, justice minister Owen Bonnici lauded a Bill to revamp judicial appointments – that is set to pass into law in the coming days – as the "most important constitu- tional amendment in the past 30 years". The law will shift the responsibil- ity for selecting judges and mag- istrates from the justice minister to a commission – composed of the Attorney General, the Chief Justice, the Auditor General, the Ombudsman, and the Chamber of Advocates president. Lawyers will be able to apply for vacant judicial posts, and their applications will re- main completely confidential until the government eventually decides to appoint them to the bench. The Commission for the Admin- istration of Justice will also set up a sub-committee to discipline judges and magistrates, with potential sanctions ranging from slaps on the wrist to fines, suspensions and rec- ommendations for impeachment. PAGE 7 PAGE 6 Prime Minister joseph Muscat said politicians strive hard to get elected to Parliament and they should put in same effort to attend sittings

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