EDL Contract Workers Say Sit-in to Continue as Parliament Procrastinates Adoption of Draft-lawإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Electricite du Liban's contract workers have decided to carry on with their sit-in on Wednesday after the parliament postponed taking a decision regarding a draft-law that would turn them into full-time employees, as a seven-member parliamentary panel embarked on studying two proposals regarding their demands.
The workers had staged a protest near the parliament building in downtown Beirut.
“The parliamentary panel's meeting has not ended and if no agreement is reached, we will shut down our offices tomorrow and carry on with the sit-in,” head of EDL contract workers committee Lebnan Makhoul told MTV on Tuesday evening.
Around 8:00 p.m., Speaker Nabih Berri adjourned the legislative session to 10:30 a.m., Wednesday due to lack of quorum.
Around 600 workers marched on Tuesday morning from the EDL headquarters in Mar Mikhael to the central Beirut district seeking to reach the closest area to the parliament building that lies in Nejmeh Square.
Makhoul insisted that protesters would reach the square.
“Our protest will only be held near the parliament,” he told MTV on Tuesday morning.
The demonstrators pushed through the barricade and dozens of policemen in full riot gear blocking their way towards Nejmeh Square. But they stopped at Riad Solh square when a committee of contract workers headed to parliament to hold meetings with MPs over the controversial draft-law, which was the first item on the agenda of the three-day parliamentary session.
MP Ibrahim Kanaan told LBCI after the meeting that several lawmakers, including himself, heard the demands and concerns of the protesters.
Parliament later formed the committee to resolve the dispute on the draft-law and put it to a vote.
If passed, the draft-law would make around 1,800 of them full-timers.
The workers are insisting that the exams they need to take to become employees be carried out by EDL and supervised by the Civil Service Council. They are also demanding compensation, an item missing from the draft-law.
On Monday, the workers blocked the highway near EDL's headquarters and several streets across Lebanon to press for their demands.
Berri said the workers' demands were righteous but stressed at the start of Tuesday's parliamentary session that “the speakership does not approve to legislate under threat.”
The contract workers welcomed the lawmakers' decision to postpone discussions on the draft-law, saying had the parliament approved it, the move would have cast a gloom over their cause.
“We have hope that we would reach a solution,” said Makhoul. “We won't give up our rights.”