March 8 Urges Treasury Loans to Fund Wage Hike, Others Back Postponementإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
An emergency cabinet session held Sunday evening witnessed two viewpoints on the issue of the implementation of the new wage scale, after the Constitutional Council revoked a tax law that had been approved to fund the plan, media reports said on Monday.
“There were two points of view in Cabinet -- the first endorsed by (Prime Minister Saad) Hariri, the Lebanese Forces, the Progressive Socialist Party and the Free Patriotic Movement, calling for the suspension of the wage scale until the approval of the state budget that would involve the needed revenues... and the second endorsed by the March 8 camp, Hizbullah and the AMAL Movement,” ad-Diyar daily quoted a March 8 ministerial source as saying.
The source said the March 8 forces stressed the need to secure the wage scale's funds as soon as possible through “amending the (tax) law's appealed articles while earmarking treasury loans to finance the wage scale as of October.”
In remarks to ad-Diyar, a March 14 ministerial source ruled out the possibility of reaching a solution in Tuesday's cabinet session.
“Consultations will be held with the syndicates to agree on postponing the wage hike for a limited period, while offering them a pledge that salaries for the suspension months would be paid retroactively,” the source added.
The source also noted that “the government cannot take a decision to implement the wage scale this month, because such a step would send a negative message locally and internationally about the government's financial policy.”
Public and private school teachers and public employees were on Monday observing a general strike to press authorities not to postpone the implementation of the long-awaited wage scale.
The Syndical Coordination Committee, a coalition of civil servants and public and private school teachers, had decried Sunday that “some parties of the ruling class seem to have bowed to the pressures of bank and business associations and the coalition of the owners of private schools.”
“Any postponement in paying the wage hike would be an injustice against the people in light of the rise in the prices of commodities that accompanied the approval of the new wage scale,” the SCC warned.