Gas Station closed due to the interruption of gasoline and diesel in Beirut
Rising fuel prices have driven up the costs of consumer goods by 12 percent over the last few months, the General Labor Confederation said Tuesday, reiterating calls for a nationwide
general strike on May 3.
“We uphold our demand that the government should take over the oil sector [from private companies] and allow the imports of [lower graded] 87 to 90 octane gasoline varieties,” the GLC said after a meeting, repeated its demands to abolish fuel taxes and place price ceilings on gasoline and diesel.
The GLC also slammed the weekly fuel price update issued by the Energy and Water Ministry, saying it has caused gasoline prices to soar by LL17,500 over the past 16 weeks to reach LL40,000 Saturday.
The price of gasoline surged to a record high Saturday as the 98-graded variety reached LL40,000, increasing by LL300 from the week before.
The price of the 95-graded unleaded fuel also soared by LL300 and is now priced at LL39,300. The prices are expected to start falling by Wednesday, a leading oil sector expert told The Daily Star last week.
The increase in fuel prices, the statement added, takes a heavy toll on the purchasing power of workers and lower-income families.
The GLC also called on the government to reactivate plans to improve public transportation.
“This would provide low-income families with cheaper transportation that is well organized and allows departure and arrival on fixed schedules as happens in countries across the world,” the statement said.
It said the government should give public sector employees the wage increases approved for the private sector last January. It said contractual employees, security personnel and pensioners should also benefit from the raise.
The GLC rejected “threats” by the Hospitals Association over their refusal to admit National Social Security Fund patients.
“We demand the government to carry out a comprehensive study of costs in the health care sector. [This will help eliminate] fake bills and outrageous profits [by private hospitals] that exploit the situations of patients,” the statement said.
The GLC said it will hold a broad meeting of various labor unions on May 1 to finalize preparations for the strike on May 3. “The strike would include public and private institutions in all Lebanese districts.”