Bou Saab Meets SCC Delegation, Says No More Strikes before End of School Year

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Education Minister Elias Bou Saab warned on Friday that a “major crisis” is looming over holding official exams for high school and secondary school students given the ongoing dispute over the approval of the new wage scale.

He said after meeting with a delegation from the Syndicate Coordination Committee: “No more strikes will take place before the end of the school year.”

He added however that the possibility of extending the year at some schools is being studied.

The SCC, a coalition of private and public school teachers and public sector employees, has been demanding that parliament approve the new wage scale. It has staged a number of protests and school strikes to press its demands and also threatened to suspend the correction of official exams.

Bou Saab added: “We thank the SCC representatives for their responsible positions and we stress that school exams will take place on time.”

He revealed however that the fate of official exams lies in the hands of parliament and its stand on the wage scale.

The approval of the scale draft-law has been delayed given fears of the impact it may have on Lebanon's economy.

A ministerial-parliamentary committee, which studied the draft-law, has proposed to reduce the total funding of the pay hike from LL2.8 trillion ($1.9 billion) to LL1.8 trillion ($1.2 billion).

It has also suggested to increase the Value Added Tax (VAT) from 10 percent to 11 percent and increasing customs by 1 percent, in addition to raising other taxes.

But SCC officials stressed that the public sector employees will only accept a 121 percent wage hike as initially approved by the government of ex-PM Premier Najib Miqati in 2012.

Parliament is set to convene on May 27 to continue discussions on the matter.



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Thumb cedre 16 May 2014, 21:42