By Tom Westcott.
Tripoli, 9 May 2013:
Passengers at Tripoli International Airport were today left angry and confused when unannounced industrial action crippled . . .[restrict]Libyan Airlines schedules, leaving many stranded after flights were cancelled.
One traveller, who was booked on a flight to Istanbul, arrived at the airport this morning to find that his flight was absent from the departure boards. He told the Libya Herald that it was difficult to find staff to clarify or help.
He was eventually told that flights had been cancelled due to strike action. The staff member, however, said: “Maybe you should just hang around because a flight may take off later.” The passenger said that this was very poor customer service and he was one of many forced to postpone or cancel travel plans.
After a small protest was staged outside the airport, remaining Libyan Airlines staff went home early and many of the airline’s flights from Tripoli International Airport were cancelled.
A Libyan Airlines source told the Libya Herald that the unexpected strike was staged by flight deck crew and office staff. He said that that the ticket sales staff were demanding that a recently-withdrawn bonus system relating to sales be reinstated.
Other demands, he said, included the resignation of the chairman of the company and the relocation of the airline’s headquarters to Benghazi. One rather obscure sign outside the airport, left by the strikers, read: “We want the criminals to be apprehended.”
A total lack of information from either strikers or the airline itself means that it is not yet clear whether it was a one-day strike or if it is ongoing. An airport source told the Libya Herald: “I think it was just for today, but I don’t know for sure.”
Benghazi-based Libyan Airlines pilots staged strikes during March and April. They were demanding that managerial staff should step down from their posts and that the airline’s headquarters should be relocated to Benghazi, where the company was established. It is understood that pilots did not take part in today’s strike. [/restrict]