MEA Pilots To Strike Over Dismissed Colleague

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Published: November 29, 2011

Pilots working for Lebanon’s Middle East Airlines voted to hold a 48-hour strike from Monday night in protest at the dismissal of a colleague suffering from cancer.

The head of the pilot’s union, Captain Fadi Khalil, said the stoppage would affect all flights out of Beirut airport from 10 pm (2000 GMT) on Monday until 10 pm on Wednesday.

Khalil said Middle East Airlines had terminated the contract of a captain who had worked for MEA for 38 years when they discovered his illness.

“They didn’t give him his right — according to Lebanese law and the internal company law — of 75 days’ sick leave on full pay and 75 days on half pay,” Khalil said.

The pilots had already delayed flights by two hours over the weekend in an earlier protest over the employee, but decided to step up their action on Monday. “We had a meeting at the syndicate and decided to go on strike for 48 hours,” Khalil said.

Airline officials were not available to comment on the pilots’ grievances. The airline did announce it would continue to operate flights on Tuesday to some European destinations, and would try to find alternative carriers for some of the other routes.

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