BEIRUT

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Hospitality workers groups condemn layoffs of employees

Kentucky Fried Chicken logo. (TEH ENG KOON/AFP/Getty Images)

BEIRUT: Lebanon’s hospitality employees associations denounced Thursday the decision by some hotels and restaurants to lay off staff.

The statement, issued by several workers associations, said that fast food chain Kentucky Fried Chicken and Beirut restaurant Awtar had dismissed several of their employees who declared themselves to National Social Security inspectors.

The National Social Security Fund had said Monday it has been cracking down on companies that fail to enroll employees in the Fund.

It said 3,978 unregistered employees have now been enrolled to the Fund in compliance with Lebanese law that requires employers to register their employees at the NSSF.

The Fund’s finances improved LL41 billion ($27.2 million), it said.

“From the start of the Lebanese Civil War up until today hospitality sector employees continue to pay the price [of instability and ill-fated government decisions],” the statement said.

It added that employers are threatening their workers with dismissal as a result of the recent smoking ban.

Restaurant owners have been campaigning to amend the smoking law they say has significantly decreased their revenues.

The employee associations also complained that most vacancies in the hospitality sector are being filled by foreign workers.

Calling on the Labor Ministry to intervene against the dismissals, the statement warned that workers could take escalatory measures.

It called on any dismissed employee to report to the associations.

Meanwhile, Labor Minister Salim Jreissati said his ministry made a LL410 billion payment to the NSSF. He said the payment is the fourth installment toward paying off the government’s debt.

“This would improve the cash flow and help balance the Fund’s finances, which reflects positively on its services,” he said.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on October 12, 2012, on page 5.

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