Report: Berri Seeking Agreement on New Wage Scale ahead of Tuesday's Parliament Session

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Speaker Nabih Berri has launched a number of contacts with various concerned political sides over the new wage scale, reported the Kuwaiti daily Al-Anba on Sunday.

March 8 camp sources told the daily that the speaker is seeking an agreement between the political powers ahead of Tuesday's parliament session that is aimed at discussing the wage hike.

“The fate of tens of thousands of students hinges on the adoption of the scale,” they noted.

“The scale should not be linked to other political files, most notably the presidential elections,” added the sources.

Furthermore, they said that the role of the committee that was tasked with studying the scale is complete and parliament must now assume its role in this issue.

There is no need to resort to a new committee to tackle the wage scale, they stated.

“Any effort to such an end will be interpreted as a sign of escaping one's responsibilities,” explained the March 8 sources.

The daily An Nahar meanwhile reported on Sunday that Tuesday's session may not be held due to a lack of quorum seeing as each of the political parties has not made their position on this affair yet.

Media reports have said however that the Change and Reform bloc MPs may attend the session.

On Saturday, Education Minister Elias Bou Saab urged lawmakers to attend next week's parliamentary session.

“If the parliament fails to endorse the pay hike draft-law we will plunge into a crisis, which is linked to the whole society,” warned Bou Saab, who is loyal to the Free Patriotic Movement.

“Our priority is to stage the official exams,” he said.

He expressed understanding to “any stance that would be taken by the Syndicate Coordination Committee if the draft-law wasn't approved,” holding the state “responsible” for any escalatory measures.

The SCC is a coalition of private and public school teachers and public sector employees.

On Wednesday, the SCC declared a general strike at all ministries and public institutions on June 9 and 10, holding “the MPs who obstructed legislation for several months” responsible for a possible postponement of official school exams.

The differences on the pay raise have led to wide range protests and strikes by public sector employees and teachers who are holding onto a 121 percent increase in their salaries.

But the ministerial-parliamentary committee has proposed to reduce the total funding from LL2.8 trillion ($1.9 billion) to LL1.8 trillion ($1.2 billion).

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