EDL Says Company ‘Forcibly Closed’, Warns of Blackout as Contract Workers Suspend Negotiations

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Electricite du Liban announced on Monday that it will consider the company as “forcibly closed” after contract workers shut the company’s entrances in Mar Mikhael in Beirut.

It warned in a statement that this measure “will lead to a power blackout throughout Lebanon within the next few hours.”

Later on Monday, the contract workers committee hit back at EDL. “The power outage will be deliberately forced by the company’s directors, not by the contract workers whose job description is limited to grid maintenance and bill collecting,” the committee said in a statement.

“The board of directors issues the order to shut down or reoperate the power plants, and this scenario indicates an attempt to subjugate the contract workers but it will not succeed. They have decided to cut off electricity supply to delude people into thinking that the contract workers are behind that,” the statement added.

The committee vowed to “press on with the protest until the demands have been met.”

The EDL administration earlier announced that it has relocated to the Zouk power plant after the "occupation" of its building, urging President Michel Suleiman to intervene to end the situation.

The workers closed the company’s entrances, vowing to escalate their measures if the cabinet failed anew to meet their demands.

According to Voice of Lebanon radio (93.3), the contract workers stressed that they are set to intensify their endeavors throughout the day.

They noted that it’s the first day since the beginning of their strike three months ago that “no employee was allowed to enter the company’s headquarters.”

Internal Security Forces heavily deployed near the company as the full-time employees staged a counter-protest blocking the road in the direction of Gemmayzeh.

The workers are demanding their full-time employment, the company to pay their June-July salaries and compensations.

Head of General Labor Confederation Ghassan Ghosn held a meeting with EDL contract workers committee in the presence of head of the public drivers syndicate Bassam Tleis.

Ghosn told reports after the meeting that he supports the demands of the contract workers.

He stressed that “the strike will go on as all negotiation have been halted until the contract workers are paid their salaries.”

According to As Safir newspaper Ghosn’s interference in the crisis indicates that the negotiations between the employees and the political officials reached a dead-end.

“The efforts exerted by the GLC aims at reaching a comprehended mechanism for the crisis,” Ghosn told the daily.

He also held talks with a delegation from EDL contract workers committee on Sunday.

Sources revealed to As Safir that “the ongoing negotiations didn’t resolve the problem of the number of contract workers expected to be permanently employed.”

The controversy, sources said, is focusing on the full-time employment of 1,090 workers instead of 1,800.

As Safir said that the gatherers agreed to form a committee headed by Ghosn to negotiate with the competent authorities.

Energy Minister Jebran Bassil had previously proposed to allow 700 contract workers to stand for an official exam, out of some 2,500 employees, while the rest would become employees at private companies under a three-month probation period as EDL can’t contain all of the employees.

The thorny issue affected the ties between the March 8 allies as the Free Patriotic Movement lashed out at Hizbullah and Speaker Nabih Berri’s AMAL movement after the parliament approved a decision taken by the joint parliamentary committees to permanently employee the workers instead of adopting Bassil’s proposed plan.

The workers will have to sit for a closed exam, which will be held by the Civil Service Board.

The Christian lawmakers boycotted the parliament to protest the approval of the joint parliamentary committees’ suggestion arguing that the permanent employment of those workers would destabilize the sectarian balance at EDL as around 80 percent of them belong to non-Christian sects and most of them support Berri, who is a Shiite.

Comments 13
Default-user-icon assaad (Guest) 30 July 2012, 13:20

Le general Aoun a toujours soutenu que les ministres qui n'avait pas les moyens pour resoudre les problemes devaient demissionner. et que ses ministres pouvaient tout faire car ils avaient le soutient d'un grand bloc parlementaire. il doit sortir di gouvernement et nom pas manifester pour les problèmes éléctrique tout en étant responsable. en plus ila choisi le ministre de la défence et de l'intérieur.

Missing allouchi 30 July 2012, 15:46

M8 government in action...

Default-user-icon FPM major FAIL!!! (Guest) 30 July 2012, 17:41

Aounist Ziad Abs 27/07/2012 L’Orient-Le Jour: «le Hezbollah couve des mafias et Berry est un fromagiste corrompu » ... « Cette alliance (MOU) avec le camp qui détient des armes nous a fait perdre alors 20 % de notre base chrétienne » ...« nous remarquons aujourd’hui que le Hezbollah n’est pas prêt à abandonner une parcelle de terrain à Lassa (NDLR : propriété du patriarcat maronite à Jbeil, squattée par les chiites partisans du Hezbollah), ce qui montre que la seule préoccupation du Hezbollah est de ménager les relations chiites-sunnites et les intérêts interchiites, au détriment de la lutte contre la corruption prévue par le document d’entente »... « ce sont les régions du Hezbollah qui couvent les mafias des moteurs, les réseaux de falsification, de rapts pour rançon et les impôts prélevés à certains commerces, comme on en voit en banlieue sud ».

Default-user-icon ramzi (Guest) 30 July 2012, 18:12

Where are the cops that we pay in all of this??? What are u losers doing???

Missing samiam 30 July 2012, 18:56

This government is weak. It should be arresting these people who forced their way onto the company headquarters--you break the law, you go to jail. As for them demanding their back pay, screw them. Somehow, they have been living for 3 months without working--let them get paid from those people instead.

On top of everything else, privatize EDL and get the government out it and maybe it will be run more efficiently with less corruption.

Missing samiam 30 July 2012, 20:58

He isn't my boy--anyhow, maybe you should read some other articles first. http://www.naharnet.com/stories/en/48092-edl-contract-workers-set-stage-for-showdown-by-moving-protest-tent

But Interior Minister Marwan Charbel appeased fears that police would resort to force to end the protest.

He told An Nahar daily that there would be more tension if security forces seek to confront the contract workers.

“Eventually, there would be a political solution because electricity does not belong to any party, it’s for all people,” Charbel said.

So, you answer is incorrect--it is Charbel who is ultimately responsible, who last I checked was an FPMer who is allied with Berri, whom these workers seem to support.

Missing samiam 31 July 2012, 09:24

EDL loses almost a half billion dollars a month--basic math says even if you sell EDL for a dollar, you are still going to be better off.

Missing samiam 30 July 2012, 19:24

as long as they set it up and have it bought up my mostly foreign investors, it should be fine. Anyhow, anything is better than what is going on now. Politicians trying to run the electric and communications sectors have set us back 15 years.

Missing samiam 30 July 2012, 20:51

Mowaten--telecoms aren't privatized, there is just an illusion that they are. Afla and MTC are each half owned by the government and prices and services between the two are virtually the same, so you can call them 1a and 1b.

As for the DSL and other services, again prices are set by the government and there is no incentive for them to improve. Getting out of one DSL company to another can take two months or more and there is little incentive for them to improve. The little neighborhood 'ishtirak' guys have better service than these companies right now and they are the ones that are actually free of government.

Thumb andre.jabbour 30 July 2012, 21:22

Guys, if you want to have a decent internet connection, get one with Satellite (Eutelsat) They cover Lebanon [everywhere] and cannot be screened by Hezbollah or the legal {politicised} authorities. It's affordable too. You just need someone to buy you the stuff from abroad. available almost everywhere in Europe, or closer to Lebanon :Egypt/Cyprus/Turkey. More info on Eutelsat.com ==> Broadband Services

Thumb andre.jabbour 30 July 2012, 19:51

EDL will have the balls to ask us to pay for the monthly 9000 LL without using any electricity. I believe the time to privatise the companies has arrived. So those who don't pay wouldn't get the juice.... and it's time to think of renewable sources of energy. Can the minister in charge 'work' for once?

Thumb andre.jabbour 30 July 2012, 21:10

Absolutely right

Thumb whyaskwhy 31 July 2012, 08:21

This is our government (like it or not) at work. Incapable of making the simplest things from happening. Strong leadership at work doing the most difficult of jobs such as providing basics for its people. Bangaladesh a poorer nation with a greater population and handicapped as they are (without Berri,Nasrallah,3oun and darab el tabil) manage to prvide water and electricity for their masses. Yes this government is unique....effective leaders please continue to support them!