/** labr.global: 321.0 **/
** Topic: ICFTU Protests Lebanon Gov Interference In TU Election **
** Written 10:04 PM Apr 24, 1997 by labornews in cdp:labr.global **
From: Institute for Global Communications <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: ICFTU Protests Lebanon Gov Interference In TU Election
INTERNATIONAL CONFEDERATION OF FREE TRADE UNIONS (ICFTU)
Brussels, April 15 1997 (ICFTU OnLine): The International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) has again condemned the interference of the Lebanese authorities in trade union affairs. The events which led the ICFTU to send a strong protest to President Elias Hroui occurred on Sunday (April 13) in Saida where the Labour Ministry imposed trade union elections on the trade union federation of Southern Lebanon and set a puppet leadership in place. The majority of the organisation's members had called for the regional elections to be delayed in order to enable grass roots unions to hold their own ballots and to elect their delegates for the Southern Lebanon region.
According to eye-witness reports received by the ICFTU, the Lebanese police interrupted the meeting by force, to summons the twenty trade unionists opposed to the election. Some trade unionists were beaten and representatives of the press were locked in a room. The police then invaded the premises and the elections, which took place in the presence of a representative of the Labour Ministry, went ahead despite the fact that 60 of the 73 delegates were still in police hands. At the end of the evening,the Labour Ministry declared the election of a list of twelve members, known for their sympathies towards Mr. Rafik Hariri's government.
The trade union federation of Southern Lebanon is affiliated to the General Confederation of Labour (CGTL), the 200,000-strong national trade union centre, and the events in Saida are related to the elections to the CGTL executive council, due to take place on 24 April 1997.
CGTL General Secretary Abdou Rizk, who condemned the authorities' interference has confirmed that the April elections will take place, and hopes they will be without incident.
There have been several cases of government interference in the activities of the Lebanese trade union in recent months. Last December, a number of trade unionists were summonsed during a general strike in support of economic demands and the government has banned stoppages.
The ICFTU, which has intervened several times to urge the government to negotiate with the unions, has finally lodged a complaint with the International Labour Office (ILO), accusing the Lebanese authorities of violating the freedom of association. The international confederation has announced that the events in Saida will be added to the case currently before the ILO.
For details contact ICFTU Press at ++322 224 02 12. Other OnLine news on Poptel Bulletin Board ICFTU-Online for geonet users and on the WWW at:http://www.icftu.org