Public School Teachers Kick Protest in Parallel with Parliamentary Committee Meeting

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The Public Schools Teachers Association staged a sit-in in Riad al-Solh in Downtown Beirut on Monday in parallel with a parliamentary joint committee meeting in Nejmeh Square dedicated to studying the thorny wage scale file.

The protesters want to press the government into approving the long-stalled scale.

After the meeting, Lebanese Forces MP George Adwan stressed that efforts are serious as for approving the scale as soon as possible, “the endeavors are focusing on doing justice for all,” he said.

On claims that the scale would increase the burden on Lebanon's economy, the MP said: “The wage scale does not constitute a hurdle for Lebanon's economy but the fruitless expenditures, corruption and squandering of public funds do.”

For his part, Kataeb MP Sami Gemayel criticized referring the wage scale file to the parliamentary committee, stating that the sources of funding decision is in the hands of the government, he said: “The wage scale will face the hurdle of funding in the government even if the committee approved it.”

The committee's meeting was adjourned until tomorrow.

Ahead of the meeting, Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil announced that “the wage scale discussions will resume today and that MPs will finish discussing the state budget's plan on Wednesday.”

For his part, MP Serge Tersarkisian pushed for the endorsement of the salary scale, expressing his will to “delve a battle to attain this righteous demand.”

“The salary scale is every employees' right; it is not even in a position to be negotiated,” the MP told VDL (93.3).

“There are vast sources from which we can fund the salary scale starting with maritime property,” he added.

In February, the Syndicate Coordination Committee, a coalition of private and public school teachers and public sector employees held a sit-in as the cabinet convened to discuss whether or not the new wage scale will be added to the draft state budget.

The SCC has been pushing for the approval of the new wage scale for several years now and has organized numerous street protests and strikes to this end. In a recent stance, the SCC has rejected the possible separation of the wage scale from the state budget, threatening to suspend the school year should the government return the wage scale to parliament.

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