Middle East Airlines pilot talks unresolved, second strike imminent
Middle East Airlines (MEA) announced talks with pilots regarding increased benefits have failed (The Daily Star, 25-May-2010). MEA also announced plans to temporarily employ 28 pilots from Qatar Airways and other airlines if its pilots go ahead with strike action. Last week, MEA warned it will take action if pilots hold a second strike after the first 24-hour strike on 29-Apr-2010 cost the airline USD800,000 from the cancellation of 23 international services across the Middle East and Europe. 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. The carrier employs 167 pilots. The proposed date of the second strike was not disclosed.
Lebanese Government: “The Labor Ministry tried to mediate a deal between both sides but regrettably the pilots rejected our gesture and insisted on their demands. We will try again to sort out the problem. We can’t take any chances. If the pilots went on strike again then it is the company’s duty to take any action to ensure that the airline never stops operations. We are also talking about the livelihoods of 5,500 employees,” Boutros Harb, Labor Minister. Source: The Daily Star, 25-May-2010.