BEIRUT: The Bank Employees Association threatened Friday to go on strike next month if banks fail to draw a new collective contract that meets their demands.
The head of the BEA George Hajj said a general assembly would be held on March 15 to discuss mechanisms for holding a strike in the banking sector.
The employees plan to stage a sit-in in front of the Association of Banks in Lebanon in the first week of April.
Similar sit-ins will also be held in different regions of the country.
This is the first time the BEA has set a timetable for strikes over the collective contract, though it has threatened to take escalatory measures.
The association has more than 7,000 members and represents nearly two-thirds of the staff in the banking sector.
Hajj said the Central Bank had not yet intervened to end the standoff between the employees and the banks.
The Labor Ministry is currently mediating the dispute, but these efforts have not produced any results.
The BEA complains that banks have extended the working hours of employees without reimbursing them for overtime, while some have also ignored a government-mandated wage increase approved last year.
The employees are also demanding full medical coverage after reaching the retirement age and annual salary increases in line with the high cost of living index.
The association stressed that it would not compromise on these demands.
But sources told The Daily Star that both sides were likely to reach an understanding before the end of this month because no one could afford to cripple the country’s banking sector.