Agriculture Minister Akram Chehayeb, Energy Minister Arthur Nazarian, EDL Chairman Kamal Hayek, and Amal Movement official Ali Hamdan walk happily to EDL headquarters in Beirut, Friday, Dec. 5, 2014. (The Daily Star/Khalil Hassan)
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With shouts of congratulations filling the air, politicians, officials and contract workers celebrated the end of the four-month strike at Electricite du Liban's headquarters – but the actual content of the long-awaited deal remained obscured.In response to Parliament law 287/2014, which stipulated that EDL had to come up with a firm figure of exactly how many employees it needed, the company said it would only give 897 contract workers full-time jobs, leaving around 800 others out in the cold.Previously day laborers for EDL, the workers in question were given temporary contracts in 2012 when former Energy Minister Gebran Bassil hired three private companies to manage the struggling electricity sector. But there was no official word on what exactly has changed with the Jumblatt-negotiated agreement between Speaker Nabih Berri, who backed the workers, and Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun, who supported the state electricity company's administration. All the contract workers will sit the compulsory Civil Service Council exam, with 897 successful candidates chosen for full-time employment at EDL before June 2015 .At EDL's headquarters, tents that have been there for months were cleared away and the contract workers held a news conference of their own to announce the end of their protest movement.
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