Lebanon News

EDL seeks protection for employees

The headquarters of Electricite Du Liban in Beirut, Lebanon. (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)

BEIRUT: Electricite Du Liban Friday asked security forces to provide its employees with protection from contract workers who have disrupted work at the company's Beirut headquarters in protest.

"The company will inform security forces that the employees will be at the building on Monday morning ... and calls on security agencies to secure their entry and exit as well as their protection inside the building and its branches,” EDL said in a statement.

The statement was released after a meeting was held at the Zouk Power plant Thursday evening “because the board of directors could not enter the headquarters.”

Hours after the EDL statement was released, the Committee of Contract Workers held a brief news conference, appealing to the company to support their cause.

“We are not murderers or outlaws ... we are demanding for the law to implemented,” a member of the committee said.

“To the [EDL] Managing Director Kamal Hayek, we know that the issue is not in your hands but in the hands of a group of outlaws who are manipulating our case. ... We ask you to stand on our side to preserve the company and public money.”

Addressing former prime ministers Saad Hariri and Fouad Siniora, the contract workers appealed to the Future Movement officials to help resolve their case, saying: “The number of Sunnis is five times higher than the number of Shiite contract workers.”

The state-run company said in its statement that the protest by contract workers had disrupted the electricity supply as it called on its employees to resume work on Aug. 25.

"The company calls on all its employees and contractors to head to their jobs in the building and its branches on Monday morning ... and to convene a meeting at the EDL headquarters at 9 a.m.”

EDL contract workers are observing a nationwide strike, demanding full-time employment for each of the nearly 2,000 of them in line with a law passed by Parliament in April. EDL has only agreed to hire 897.

In 2012, EDL outsourced technical services for a period of four years and the private service providers employed the contract workers, who fear that they will lose their jobs once the contracts end.

The protesters have in the past weeks blocked roads outside the EDL headquarters in the Beirut neighborhood of Mar Mikhael and prevented employees from entering the company.

The Committee of Contract Workers has held meetings with the Energy Minister Arthur Nazarian as well as other government officials to urge EDL to amend the vacancy numbers but to no avail.

EDL’s administration had sent a letter to the State Prosecution office Tuesday, asking for security forces to intervene to end the contract workers’ protests in the firm’s buildings.

The company accused Lebnan Makhoul, head of the workers’ union, along with Bilal Bajou and Ahmad Shoeib, of closing EDL’s doors, barring customers from entering and defaming the institution’s board of directors.





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