BEIRUT: Civil servants and school teachers Monday called on their colleagues to observe a nationwide strike and take part in a protest against lawmakers’ failure to pass the public sector salary scale bill.
“We call on everyone to observe the planned nationwide strike Tuesday in all ministries, administrations, public and private schools, and technical colleges,” the head of the Association of State Employees Mahmoud Haidar said in a statement.
He also asked public sector employees to take part in a protest organized by the Union Coordination Committee, in which protesters will march from the Central Bank to Riad Solh Square outside Parliament.
The UCC has spearheaded several protests in the past two years in an attempt to pressure Parliament to approve the proposal, which was referred by the government in 2013.
Lawmakers have been unable to pass the proposal due to disagreements over how to finance the proposal, which is estimated to cost the treasury some $1.6 billion.
The unions have rejected a proposal to pay the salary increase via installments and impose additional taxes to finance it.
“We are Lebanon's poor and we will not accept a new salary scale at the expense of the poor but it should be financed through bank benefits, taxes on real estate and seaside illegal property, putting an end to waste, corruption and smuggling at ports,” said Haidar.
“We reject any formula proposed by the parliamentary committee unless it takes into consideration the 121 percent increase as demanded."
He also reiterated a demand for the government to pay the salary increase retroactively from June 1, 2012.
“Let tomorrow be the day we make our response resonate against their procrastination in passing the salary scale,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Air Transport Association announced that it would stop work at Beirut airport between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Wednesday in solidarity with the strike planned by the UCC.
Private and public school teachers have warned that they would not correct final examinations to escalate the protest and further pressure MPs to pass the draft law.