Employees of Lebanon's state-owned Middle East Airlines (MEA) called off a sit-in begun eight days ago and a strike planned for July 3-4, following "positive" discussions with the government, a union official said Saturday, June 30.
"The three company unions decided to suspend their sit-in and their call to strike following a meeting Friday with management," union leader Hussein Abbas told AFP.
The decision followed the meeting between the airline's three unions and management over the framework and conditions for the airline's plans to dismiss 1,200 of MEA's 3,500 employees.
The two sides had met under the auspices of government officials, including the labour ministry, and the General Confederation of Lebanese Workers (GCLW).
Ghassan Ghosn, head of the GCLW, described the meeting "as positive", with MEA management agreeing to extend until July 11 the period for employees who want to resign and take advantage of supplementary payments on offer from the management.
He also confirmed that a committee representing MEA management, the state and workers will look case by case at any possible "injustices" resulting from the restructuring plan.
The Lebanese government stressed Thursday its determination to press ahead with dismissal plans, while continuing to negotiate with the unions.
According to MEA chairman Mohammed Hout, the company is losing some $40 million annually despite cutting services and its fleet since 1996.
The three MEA unions had been running a "rolling sit-in" in front of the company's headquarters near Beirut airport since June 21. — (AFP)
© Agence France Presse
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)