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Cabinet Fails Once Again to Refer New Wage Scale to Parliament

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The cabinet convened at the Baabda Palace failed on Monday to refer the new wage scale to the parliament despite warnings by the Syndicate Coordination Committee to stage yet another strike to protest the government procrastination.

“The cabinet decided to implement economy reforms in parallel with referring the draft law to the parliament,” Labor Minister Salim Jreissati told reporters in a briefing following the session.

He pointed out that the government will tackle the matter during its session on Wednesday at the Baabda Palace, noting that the sources to fund the new salary scale will be discussed from outside the agenda.

Earlier, the SCC warned during a sit-in near the Baabda Palace coinciding with the session that it will hold a strike on Wednesday if the cabinet failed to meet their demands, reiterating threats of paralyzing the public sector.

Head of Public Secondary School Education Teachers Association Hanna Gharib reiterated during the protest the SCC's demands, saying: “The decision must be referred as an urgent draft law to the parliament and without installments.”

For his part, head of the private school teachers association Nehme Mahfoud told demonstrators that “the cabinet should refer the new wage scale to the parliament and we will work with Speaker Nabih Berri to end the matter.”

He lashed out at Prime Minister Najib Miqati, accusing him of “using” on the Economic Committees to “exert pressure” on the SCC.

“No official has contacted us in the past few days to negotiate over the matter,” he noted.

The Economic Committees also held la press conference on Monday, reiterating their stance from the new salary scale.

The committees said that they would reject any decision taken by cabinet on the new wage scale, warning that the government's decision to boost the salaries of public employees would "inflict major losses on the public and private sectors."

Earlier, Berri told As Safir newspaper that the dispute must be resolved swiftly.

He pointed out that the cabinet and the employees must reach consensus between giving (public employees) their lawful rights and not exposing the state's treasury to a financial shake-up.

Media reports said last week that the cabinet reached a settlement that would be approved by the SCC, the Economic Committees, the international funds and the Central Bank.

The newspaper reported that a meeting was held on Sunday night between Miqati, Ministers Ali Hassan Khalil, Nicolas Nahhas and Marwan Kheireddine to discuss the issue.

According to the report, Economy and Trade Minister Nahhas held talks later with Adnan Kassar, head of the Economic Committees that is a grouping of the country's businessmen and owners of major firms, to convince him in the settlement reached by the government.

The SCC had held several strikes to protest the cabinet's procrastination, accusing it of negligence over its failure to meet its demands.

However, the cabinet argues that it's delaying the issue to thoroughly discuss plans to boost the treasury's revenue to cover the expenses of the salaries boost.

The state treasury will have more than $1.2 billion to cover as there are over 180,000 public sector employees including military personnel.

Earlier this year, the cabinet approved the new salaries scale for public employees.

The wages increase will be retroactive from July 1, 2012.

Comments 1
Thumb geha 10 December 2012, 16:15

the most useless cabinet of thieves that ever existed in Lebanon.
as long as it does not benefit their pockets, they just do not care.