Date: Thu, 22 May 97 13:57:06 CDT
From: rich%pencil@cmsa.Berkeley.EDU (Rich Winkel)
Subject: Lebanese Unions Launch Legal Challenge for their Rights

/** headlines: 166.0 **/
** Topic: Lebanese Unions Launch Legal Challenge for their Rights **
** Written 1:41 PM May 21, 1997 by mstein in cdp:headlines **

ICFTU calls for respect of freedom of association in Lebanon

Lebanese Unions Launch Legal Challenge for their Rights

From ICFTU OnLine, 21 May, 1997

Brussels, May 13, 1997 (ICFTU OnLine): Mr Abou Rizk, General Secretary of the CGTL, the Lebanese General Confederation of Labour, told ICFTU-OnLine today that he was expecting that legal proceedings launched by nine trade union federations against the government's intervention into trade union affairs, would lead to the full restoration of the legitimate leadership of the CGTL.

Mr Rizk who was in Brussels for talks with the ICFTU General Secretary, Bill Jordan, called for international trade union support to ensure the full respect of freedom of association in Lebanon.

On April 24, trade union delegates were detained and some were beaten up by police as they gathered in Beirut for a General Council to elect the CGTL leadership.

Despite the police intervention, elections were held and Mr Rizk was re-elected General Secretary. However, a group of unions - which includes 5 federations whose membership of the CGTL had been imposed by a government decree - decided to organise separate elections under police protection. The group was immediately recognised as CGTL by the government and now occupies the union headquarters.

The government's intervention was denounced by all Lebanese media and Prime Minister Rafik Hariri had to recognise that "abuses by the police forces took place".

The ICFTU which had protested against the authorities intervention in the trade union elections and had lodged a complaint with the ILO, expressed support for the legitimate CGTL, during talks with Mr Abou Rizk. Nine of the federations belonging the the CGTL led by Mr Abou Rizk have gone to court to seek recognition for the democratically-elected CGTL. According to Mr Abou Rizk, a ruling is expected before the end of June.

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