Teachers, Public Employees Declare New Strike, Call for Sit-in

إقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية W460

The Association of Public Administration Employees on Monday called for an open-ended strike starting Tuesday in all state institutions to press authorities not to delay the payment of a long-awaited wage hike.

The Association also called for a central sit-in on Tuesday at Beirut's Riad al-Solh Square.

Later on Monday, the Syndical Coordination Committee -- a coalition of civil servants and public and private school teachers -- and the General Confederation of Lebanese Workers issued a joint call for a general strike on Tuesday and for participation in the Riad al-Solh sit-in.

In a statement, the Association of Public Administration Employees said its strike will continue until the payment of the salaries according to the new schedules.

Public employees and private and public school teachers were already observing a strike across Lebanon on Monday to press for the same demands.

Information Minister Melhem Riachi had announced Sunday that the government is inclined to suspend the wage hike to carry out a necessary financial evaluation, after the Constitutional Council revoked a tax law that had been approved to fund the new salary scale.

The Syndical Coordination Committee 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.

The Constitutional Council has revoked a tax law aimed at funding the wage scale in its entirety after ten MPs led by Kataeb Party chief Sami Gemayel filed an appeal against it.

The appeal cited alleged voting and financial auditing violations and Gemayel has warned that the new taxes would lower citizens' purchasing power “by 10 to 20%” and would also push “more than 100,000 citizens below the poverty line.”

The new taxes involve hiking the VAT tax from 10% to 11%, fines on seaside violations, and taxes on cement, administrative transactions, sea imports, lottery prizes, financial firms and banks.

Authorities had argued that the new taxes are necessary to fund the new wage scale but opponents of such a move have called for finding new revenues through putting an end to corruption and the waste of public money.

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