BEIRUT: Head of the Union Coordination Committee (UCC) Hanna Gharib warned Tuesday that payment of public employees’ salaries is a “red line,” and called for maintaining the boycott on grading official exams until the salary scale adjustment is endorsed.
Gharib also called for a general strike Wednesday in all public administrations, institutions and municipalities, and a 24-hour sit-in outside the Ministry of Education to add more pressure on politicians to reach an agreement over the long-delayed adjustment.
“We call on all legislators to assume their responsibilities and acknowledge the employees’ rights for salary scale adjustment, and we tell them that paying salaries is a duty and a red line which we will not accept to be breached,” Gharib told a press conference at UCC’s seat in the Ministry of Education.
Gharib rejected any blame for delaying the correction and results of official exams, saying “we hold the government and the politicians fully responsible for the boycott and delays.”
He scorned as "mere excuses" officials' claims that the presidential vacuum and unstable security situation are impeding approval of the salary rise.
“We are not responsible for any lawmaker who does not attend a legislative session.. We want them to perform their duties,” Gharib added, stressing that the committee refuse to get entangled in politics or be dragged into taking sides.
He vowed to stand firm on the UCC's demands.
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 was not secured.