BEIRUT: A group of Electricite Du Liban contract workers burnt tires outside the company's headquarters Saturday in a Beirut neighborhood in protest of the number of workers chosen to become full-timers, vowing to observe an open-ended strike.
The protesters verbally attacked the employees inside the state-run company and forced them to evacuate as they gathered in the building's courtyard.
A source close to the matter said the company was planning to employ just 850 out of a little over 2,000 contract workers.
Parliament had passed a law that would employ contract workers to fill vacancies in the company and had asked its subdivisions to specify the number of workers needed.
Media reports said the actual number of vacancies was estimated at 1,460 but that EDL director general Kamal Hayek decreased that number to 850.
Contract workers have protested over the past few years in favor of a law that would employ them after the company hired service provider companies to carry out maintenance work, replacing hundreds of employees.
In a statement released hours after the protesters left the headquarters, EDL said it was merely applying the law and that it finalized a list of vacant post that needed to be filled in all of its branches.
"The company calls on security forces to protect this public property and secure a safe environment to continue the work and and for safety of its employees," EDL said.
Under the law, which Parliament passed in April, the Council of Civil Service would hold examinations for contract workers to fill the state-owned company's vacant posts after EDL submits a list of vacant posts. Workers above the age of 56 would be paid compensation worth two months of salary for every working year at EDL.