BEIRUT: Civil servants vowed Wednesday to continue in their now almost month-old strike should the government fail to finalize a public sector wage hike draft and refer it to Parliament.
“We are headed for further escalation if the Cabinet, during its meeting tomorrow [Thursday], fails to refer the salary scale [to Parliament],” the head of the Union Coordination Committee (UCC) Hanna Gharib warned Wednesday.
Addressing Cabinet ministers during a rally outside the Vehicle Inspection Center in Dikwaneh, Beirut, Gharib said: “Give the people their rights. Everyone must know the value of the public employee.”
State Minister Marwan Kheireddine told The Daily Star that he expected the draft law to be passed by the Cabinet during Thursday’s session.
The UCC – a coalition of teachers and civil servants spearheading the open-ended strike to demand wage increases – plans a massive rally Thursday that will coincide with the Cabinet meeting.
Private school teachers have been urged to join Thursday's protest when the Cabinet is expected to tackle the issue of the salary hike.
“Our participation Thursday is a warning to the government by the teachers' union or else we will resume our strike,” said Nehmeh Mahfoud, the head of the Private Schools Teachers Association.
The Association has previously taken part in the strike that was launched by the UCC Feb. 19.
However, private school teachers across Lebanon resumed classes after President Michel Sleiman vowed to push for the Cabinet to refer the draft law to Parliament by March 21.
The Secretariat General of the opposition March 14 coalition held the government responsible for the delay in finalizing the pay scale.
“The government is responsible for the socio-economic crisis as a result of the unsettled salary scale which has led to an ongoing strike for more than a month in addition to losses,” said a statement following the coalition’s weekly meeting.