BEIRUT: Parliament approved Wednesday an amended version of a disputed draft law to grant contract workers at Electricite Du Liban full time employment, ending a nearly two-year struggle by the part-time employees.
Under the law, the Council of Civil Service would hold examinations for over 1000 contract workers to fill the state-owned company's vacant posts. Workers above the age of 56 would be paid compensation worth two months of salary for every working year at EDL.
The amendments included the workers' demand that their expertise should be taken into consideration during the test.
In the past two years, contract workers held several protests and strikes to pressure the government to resolve their work status.
Lubnan Makhoul, speaking on behalf of the part-time workers, voiced satisfaction with the law and said he was still waiting to receive a copy of the amended bill.
“We are happy, of course we are happy,” Makhoul told The Daily Star.
“You can never get one hundred percent of what you ask, but according to what lawmakers told us, the amendments made to the draft law are fair enough for us,” he said.
“At least we got our most basic rights,” Makhoul said.
In the coastal city of Sidon, celebrations erupted among the workers who waited eagerly for Parliament's decision, distributing sweets to pedestrians and drivers.
Standing outside EDL offices in the city, contract workers and their families also performed the traditional dance of Dabkeh.
During the three-hour session, lawmakers also approved a draft law to increase the seven-week maternity leave to 10 while Speaker Nabih Berri called for two additional sessions next week to discuss dozens of accumulated draft laws.