Naharnet

Al-Hayek Says EDL Not a 'Barn,' Warns Contract Workers

Electricite du Liban Director General Kamal al-Hayek on Thursday said EDL was not a “barn,” denying that the law allowed all contract workers to become full-time employees after rising protests against the firm.

During a press conference he held at the Zouk power plant north of Beirut, al-Hayek said: “The law gave full authority to the EDL to decide on its needs for full-time employees.”

Al-Hayek stressed that all members of the EDL board of directors, who are from different sects, decided that the company needs only an additional 897 employees out of 2,000 workers.

Al-Hayek denied that the law allows all workers to participate in exams to become full-timers.

“We asked the Civil Service Council in June about the legality of our decision. It responded that only EDL decides on its needs for full-time employees,” he said.

The contract workers closed the institution on Wednesday and went on an open-ended strike after accusing the company’s directorate and Lebanese authorities of manipulating the law, which was adopted by parliament in April.

The workers have erected tents at the company's headquarters in Beirut's Mar Mikhael area and several of its branches, and closed its doors to stop any employee from going in.

But al-Hayek reiterated that power supplies would be disrupted if their protest continues.

He also warned the Civil Service Council, saying: “If the work of Lebanese institutions will be paralyzed through occupation, then this will create a very dangerous precedent.”

“We are not animals and EDL is not a barn. We can't open and close its doors whenever we want ... This is unacceptable,” al-Hayek said.

“We will only negotiate from our offices,” he said in a message to the workers to open the company's doors. “Don't force us to resort to the judiciary.”

“Is EDL going to be closed every time it takes a decision that does not suit a certain party? he wondered.

“There are dozens of ways to object to the decision. But the current method is rejected,” he said.

Following his press conference, the workers reiterated in a statement that EDL was not abiding by the law.

They stressed that the contracts of EDL with private firms to do technical work will expire in 2016, resulting in more vacancies, which should be occupied by the contract workers.

Following his press conference, the workers reiterated in a statement that EDL was not abiding by the law.

They stressed that the contracts of EDL with private firms to do technical work will expire in 2016, resulting in more vacancies, which should be occupied by the contract workers.

G.K.

H.K.


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