File - Education Minister Elias Bou Saab, left, checks on student as they attend their official exams at a school in Beirut, Tuesday, June 17, 2014. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)
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Contacts intensified Thursday to reach an agreement on the long-awaited public sector salary raise, as the education minister warned that the ongoing teachers' strike was putting students at risk.The Future Movement has proposed raising the VAT from 10 to 11 percent, a demand opposed by Berri.Berri said he was willing to accept a 1 percent rise in VAT in return for paying the wages in a single installment or to keep the VAT as is and pay the raise in installments with reductions in the total percentage demanded by the UCC.These talks tackled whether to decrease the salary raise by 10 or 15 percent, whether to increase the level of VAT, and whether to pay the hike in installments.Earlier, Berri discussed efforts to reach an agreement on the salary raise with Education Minister Elias Bou Saab.Bou Saab urged politicians Thursday to pass the salary raise as soon as possible, warning that the future of students was at risk. UCC head Hanna Gharib reiterated after the talks his group's demand of a 121 percent salary raise.
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