Lebanon's Syndicate Coordination Committee (SCC) carried out a sit-in outside the ministry of industry
Beirut – Georges Chahine
Lebanon's Syndicate Coordination Committee (SCC) carried out a sit-in outside the ministry of industry Monday as the strike demanding the implementation of a new ranks and wages system
for public servants enters its third week. SCC chief Hanna Gharib said the Lebanese labour movement "will continue to serve as a cutting sword" in the battle for the implementation of the wage structure 17 years after it was frozen.
Gharib urged the swift referral of the wage structure to the Chamber of Deputies to be passed and called on Lebanese President Michel Aoun to add the ranks and wages system to his agenda. Also addressing Aoun, the labour leader "reminded" the president that the group will hold a sit-in outside the presidential palace at 10am Tuesday.
Gharib urges Lebanese students as well as working and retired public servants to join the protest Tuesday and said the SCC "has not heard a sufficiently reassuring response as regards the system's referral." He said the labour group will "push on in this battle regardless of the sacrifices."
Protesters marched from the ministry of industry to the ministry of social affairs and from there to the finance ministry's VAT building, after circling the justice ministry.
In Tyre, civil servants and public-school teachers held a sit-in outside Banque du Liban. Protesters made speeches in which they criticised the government's stalling on carrying out its repeated promises to put the new wage structure before the Chamber of Deputies.
In Hermel, Bekaa, the sit-in in the arena outside the local government headquarters continued for the tenth day running.
Lebanese private schools resumed work Monday after taking part in the strike in most areas for ten days. While the strike received a great deal of support initially, parents quickly lost patience and started demanding a refund of school fees.
Schoolchildren were naturally divided on the subject, with some welcoming the return to school and others wishing the strike would continue. Teachers who took part in the strike have also become sceptical about the potential outcome of the action and stressed the need to maintain Lebanon's famously high standards in private education.