BEIRUT: Education Minister Elias Bou Saab said Friday that the government would not be able to pay the Lebanese University professors’ wages once moved from contracts to full-time employment, due to lack of legislative approval, the National News Agency reported.
“Things are correlated. Even if we hire the Lebanese University’s contract professors as full-timers, we will not be able to pay for their salaries, because there is no legislation and there is a stuck ranks and salaries scale,” Bou Saab said in a news conference after meeting Speaker Nabih Berri in Ain al-Tineh.
Bou Saab said that if Parliament did not meet and legislate, “we will move from one vacuum to another, and face a problem that is difficult for the Lebanese people to handle.”
The minister praised Berri’s contributions toward resolving the issue of the contract professors, saying that “if not for his positive role we could not have reached any solutions."
Bou Saab said Thursday that of the 4,000 contract professors, the university could only hire about 400 full-timers. He added that he had held several meetings with political blocs over the last 40 days and would continue doing so until a deal was reached.
The contract professors at LU held a protest Thursday near the Grand Serail to coincide with the Cabinet meeting. Following the session, Bou Saab met with the protesters who were angered by the ministers’ failure to act.
“I wanted to give you some good news about the university file, but unfortunately, the issue has not been resolved yet,” Bou Saab told reporters after the meeting. “The Lebanese University will be in real danger if the issue of contract teachers is not resolved next week.”
As in every public institution, the government is trying to achieve a sectarian balance in the appointments.