BEIRUT: Caretaker Labor Minister Salim Jreissati reassured Wednesday contract electricity workers that the service provider company will go back on its decision to lay off tens of part-time employees.
Speaking to reporters after his meeting with a delegation from KVA, Jreissati said: "We agreed to apply the law and [KVA] will refrain from firing any of the workers before consulting with the Labor Ministry a month in advance."
"The contract workers can now return to their jobs as usual," he added.
Jreissati also thanked KVA, an electric distribution service provider contracting with Electricite Du Liban, for being open and agreeing to return the sacked contract employees.
KVA sacked 62 workers earlier this month after the company terminated their contracts, prompting the sacked employees to block a vital Beirut highway Tuesday, paralyzing traffic around the capital.
Jreissati said Tuesday that KVA violated a “political agreement” between the private company, the state-run EDL and the government, vowing to resolve the issue.
After EDL decided to privatize its maintenance services in 2012, the government agreed with three private service providers to take in hundreds of contract workers who worked with EDL in the services department.
The workers were to remain working at the private companies until Parliament passed a draft law to employ some of them at EDL. Others would be employed at the private company if they pass certain exams but the legislative branch has not been able to convene since then due to political deadlock.
The deal was reached after EDL contract workers demonstrated for nearly three months against the government’s decision to privatize its maintenance services.
But a member of the contract workers committee told The Daily Star Tuesday the issue was mainly between EDL and KVA.
According to Bilal Jaouk, EDL refused to pay KVA the whole amount for their service which amounted to $35 million. The state-run company reportedly only paid $7 million, prompting the private firm to expel the workers.