Employees’ strike escalates after mediation by the Minister of Labor fails

Youssef Diab wrote in “Al-Sharq al-Awsat”: The open strike of public sector employees has entered its fourth week, and with it complete paralysis continues in institutions and administrations, and people’s interests are completely halted, and what made matters more complicated on the eve of the blessed Eid al-Adha holiday, Minister of Labor Mustafa Bayram withdrew from his mediation between the government And the employees, after the “Employees Association” accused him of overturning his pledges and infringing on their rights.

The complete separation between the two parties made the solutions completely closed, especially in the absence of any mediator between the government and workers in state departments who are bent on escalation, but the Minister of Labor blamed them and held them responsible for the failure to achieve their demands. Minister Bayram explained in a statement to Asharq Al-Awsat that “ Donate as a volunteer to deliver the workers’ demands to the government, even though this task is not within his powers, but rather the responsibility of the government as a whole.

He said: “Being part of the public sector and knowing the employee’s pain and that he is the most vulnerable and affected by the collapsed economic situation, I took it upon myself, from the beginning, to formulate the government’s ministerial statement by adopting their demands, and I informed the Prime Minister that I am biased towards the employees and tried to include improving their conditions and increasing their salaries among the government’s priorities.”
The Minister of Labor said that the open strike “damaged the entitlement of the employees’ demands.” He continued: “Despite my recognition of the correctness of their demands and their right to exert pressure, I tried to counter the open strike, and to convince them that this method hits the state’s revenues that secure their salaries, and also puts them in the face of people whose interests have been suspended.”
He added, “I asked my fellow employees to be objective; Because part of the administration is ineffective, and many employees work only two days a week, and despite that, I advised them to launch a general campaign, not to make them lose the sympathy of public opinion with them, but they entered into an open strike that puts them in the face of the people. Bayram concluded: “I still adopt the employees’ demands, but I have notes on managing the file.”

in contrast; Public sector workers refuse to put them in a confrontation with the citizens, and consider that they, like the Lebanese people, are “victims of the policies that led the country to bankruptcy and collapse.” A member of the Employees Association explained the reasons for the dispute with the Minister of Labor. He told Asharq Al-Awsat: “Since the beginning of the negotiations, we agreed with Minister Bayram that he would convince the prime minister and the finance minister to transfer the employee’s current salary from the lira to the dollar at the exchange rate of 1500 liras to the dollar, and then hit the rate of 8000 liras to the dollar.”
The member of the “Association” indicated; who refused to be named, stated that “a salary that does not exceed 1.5 million pounds, if divided by 1,500 pounds, will be worth $1,000, and the dollar is calculated based on the price of 8,000 pounds to the dollar, so the salary becomes 8 million pounds.”

He pointed out that the Minister of Labor, “and instead of continuing to support our demand, he came back and put forward a basket of solutions that lead to providing financial assistance equivalent to the value of the monthly salary and become the basis of this salary, and its ceiling is 6 million pounds and the minimum is 4 million, with a transfer allowance of 95 thousand pounds for each A working day,” noting that the dispute with the Minister of Labor was that he was “convinced at first to put forward the employee association, but he changed his mind and stuck to putting up the basket that does not do justice to anyone.”
Public sector employees announced the general strike on the morning of June 13, in protest against the deteriorating economic conditions, and the government’s ignoring of their livelihood demands. Chief among them is the correction of wages, an increase in the transportation allowance, and the improvement of social benefits.