BEIRUT: Electricite du Liban’s contract workers staged a protest Monday against a new decision giving full-time employment to only a portion of them, closing all the entrances to the public company.
The doors were shut at 7:30 a.m., when protesters prevented any of the institution’s employees from entering the building. The protesters burned tires inside the gate of the EDL headquarters in Beirut, with the Internal Security Forces deploying to put out the fire and prevent the demonstrators from blocking Charles Helou Highway.
The laborers had pledged Saturday to close all EDL buildings and offices Monday to voice their rejection of the company’s decision to limit the number of workers to be provided full-time employment.
Contract workers in the Nabatieh branch of EDL, south Lebanon, also burned tires Monday, closing the main road and shutting the doors to prevent employees from accessing the building, the National News Agency reported.
The report said that the protesters prevented Civil Defense firefighters from putting out the fire, resulting in a clash between the two sides.
At EDL’s facility in Sidon, contract workers held a similar strike, shutting the company’s door and burning wood sticks in protest of the company’s decision.
Likewise, the workers in Tyre closed down the EDL building and cut the main entrance to the southern city.
EDL specified that its organizational needs dictated that only 891 of the 2,000 contract workers be provided full-time employment at the company.
According to EDL, 2,000 workers will take an exam at the Civil Service Council, with the best 891 being hired.
Although they would not be employed inside EDL, the remaining 1109 workers would keep their contract employment under current job conditions.
The workers’ union rejected EDL’s decision, demanding full-time employment for all its members. They said they would stage another protest and a march from the EDL headquarters to the Energy and Water Ministry Tuesday.
The workers will gather at EDL at 8 a.m. and begin their march at 9:30 a.m.
The workers also said they were considering putting up tents inside the company's headquarters Wednesday, to stage a permanent protest until their demands were met.