Middle East Airlines and Lebanese pilot talks unresolved
Middle East Airlines’ (MEA) members of the Lebanese Pilots Association called for the airline’s management to meet their demands in another meeting on 27-May-2010, which again failed to resolve wage issues (The Daily Star, 28-May-2010). The pilots are calling for an increase in the minimum wage for a beginner pilot from USD3,100 to USD4,000, an increase in retirement age from 60 to 64 and the continuation of social and medical benefits after retirement. MEA Chairman, Mohammad Hout, stated the carrier has met 75% of the pilots’ demands since 2001. MEA pilots hosted strike action for a few hours on Wednesday 26-May-2010, which did not affect flight operations at Beirut Rafik Hariri International Airport (Daily Star, 27-May-2010). MEA reportedly temporarily employed pilots from other airlines to avoid service disruption. The employees’ first strike for 24 hours on 29-Apr-2010 cost the airline USD800,000 from the cancellation of 23 international services across the Middle East and Europe.
Lebanese Workers Party: “We call upon the MEA administration to send back these foreign pilots to their countries, otherwise we will have to prosecute them because they don’t have a working permit. Moreover, they don’t have prior approval from the Labour Ministry to work in Lebanon,” Maroun Khawli, President. Source: Daily Star, 26-May-2010.