Lebanon's MEA pilots plan 24-hour strike on Thursday

Pilots from Lebanon's Middle East Airlines will begin a 24-hour strike from Thursday in an effort to claw back benefits they lost when the flag carrier was restructured in 2001, the Lebanese Pilots said.

Lebanon's MEA pilots plan 24-hour strike on Thursday

Pilots from Lebanon's Middle East Airlines (MEA) will begin a 24-hour strike from Thursday in an effort to claw back benefits they lost when the flag carrier was restructured in 2001, the Lebanese Pilots Association said.

The strike will start at 6 am (0300 GMT), Mahmoud Houmany told Reuters. Airport sources said 24 MEA flights were scheduled to take off and land at Beirut airport on Thursday.

"This means no flights for MEA will take off for the duration of the strike," Houmany said.

MEA underwent major restructuring from 1998-2002, helping it reverse losses and return to a $22 million profit in 2003, according to its website.

Over 1,000 employees were made redundant during the overhaul and pilots were issued with new contracts that increased their hours and cut back their benefits. Staff fiercely resisted the overhaul, holding a series of sit-ins and strikes.

The Lebanese Pilots' Association will hold a news conference at 1300 GMT to give more details about the strike and its demands, Houmany said.

MEA posted a net profit in 2009 of over $100 million. The airline, set up in 1945, is majority owned by the central bank.

MEA's management has always hoped to privatise the airline but plans to float some shares on the stock market have been repeatedly delayed.


Reuters

Last Mod: 28 Nisan 2010, 16:36
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