BEIRUT: Weakened by scores of unsuccessful protests, head of the Union Coordination Committee Hanna Gharib Tuesday said public employees were fighting a battle for their existence in Lebanon.
“They [politicians] don’t want to give us full rights; they want to torpedo the salary scale and hit the retirement system while we are fighting a battle for existence,” Gharib told a rally outside the Finance Ministry VAT headquarters in Beirut.
He accused politicians of seeking to fragment Lebanon.
"It’s no longer an issue of a salary scale. ... The huge scandal is that there is a scheme, at the state level, to liquidate what has remained of the social welfare state, its employees, its system and public employment terms,” Gharib said.
He vowed to stand firm on the UCC's demands.
Gharib called for a gathering Thursday aimed at setting up a “social alliance” to safeguard the official exams’ certification and the rights of employees and teachers.
Teachers are boycotting the grading of official exams to pressure the legislature into endorsing the salary raise.
The UCC had called for a two-day strike Tuesday and Wednesday, a week after the protests were postponed due to security concerns.
The union has held scores of unsuccessful protests over the past months to push Parliament into approving a 121 percent pay raise.
Officials and economists have warned that a 121 percent salary increase would further exacerbate economic problems and add to the budget deficit if a method to finance the salary scale were not secured.