EDL contract workers burn tires on Charles Helou Highway in Beirut last week. (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)
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The contract workers – previously day laborers at EDL – were hired by three different private firms in 2012 as part of a decision by the electricity company to outsource its technical services for four years.Although they currently enjoy good working conditions at the companies, the workers' main fear is that after the four-year contract expires, they will go back to being day laborers with EDL, a position that for decades has deprived them of any insurance or labor benefits.Asked about what measures NEU might take next week, Shoeib said that he predicted the company might start firing the leaders of the workers' movement. The other two private companies involved – BUTEC Utility Services (BUS) and KVA – have taken a significantly softer stance, despite calls from EDL for the service providers to take responsibility for the unrest.BUS is the least involved in the controversy, Shoeib said, because very few of its workers are still striking.KVA workers consider this company to be the most supportive of their cause, Shoeib said, because it has distanced itself from the conflict and avoided pressuring employees.
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