BEIRUT: Electricite du Liban has called on its full-time employees to report for duty this Thursday and begin network repairs that are needed in order to address severe electricity rationing, which the company blamed on the striking contract workers. In a statement released after a meeting of the EDL board, the company said that the directors “unanimously agreed on the need for: employees to return to the headquarters, all of its branches to resume work, the safety of investments to be preserved and needed repairs to be carried out on the network.”
The meeting was held at the Zouk Mikael power plant instead of the EDL headquarters in Beirut, after protesting contract workers prevented full-time employees from entering the premises by sealing off the entrances.
With the contract workers’ open-ended strike and the inability of maintenance teams to access equipment inside the company, the country has witnessed hourslong blackouts, prompting residents in Beirut’s southern suburbs to burn tires and block roads in protest.
“The company asks its employees to go to work Thursday morning and carry out maintenance work in the capital and other Lebanese areas in light of the abnormal and dangerous situation in the company that has been going on for three weeks,” the statement said, referring to the contract workers’ protest.
EDL also asked security forces to secure the entry of the employees into the building and other branches in the country and allow them to do their job, saying the company had already handed over custody of the building to security agencies.
EDL contract workers have been striking over the past three weeks, holding protests and blocking the entrance to EDL headquarters across Lebanon. They are demanding that all of the approximately 1,600 contract workers be made full-timers. EDL had decided to accept only 879 full-timers, arguing that this was all the company required.
Although the contract workers allowed maintenance teams to enter the headquarters last week, EDL refused to carry out what it described as “selective repairs” at the whim of the protesters.