Lebanon News

Committee fails to approve public sector salary scale

The parliamentary joint committee convenes at the Parliament in Beirut, Friday, March 28, 2014. (The Daily Star/Lebanese Parliament Website, HO)

BEIRUT: The parliamentary joint committee tasked with discussing a draft law to boost public sector salaries failed to refer the proposal to the legislature’s general secretariat Friday.

“There were issues that needed to be approved and we could not do that during the time [allotted],” MP Ibrahim Kanaan told reporters after the committee meeting in Parliament, adding that MPs discussed and approved "the difficult" part.

He added that the committee amended the proposal, which was originally drafted by Cabinet last year to increase salaries of public sector employees and teachers.

Kanaan, who chaired the meeting, also said that the committee was able to finalize the first part of the draft law and would resume discussions in the next few days. He also noted that some MPs voiced reservations over revenues and means to finance the salary increase estimated to cost the government more than $1.6 billion annually.

The committee met to discuss the proposal and aimed to refer it to the secretariat, which in turn would put the draft law up for a vote in the upcoming Parliament sessions next week.

Speaker Nabih Berri has scheduled three consecutive legislative sessions starting April 1 with 70 items on the agenda.

Head of the Union Coordination Committee, Hana Gharib, warned the organization would take escalatory measures should Parliament fail to approve the proposal.

Speaking to a local radio station, Gharib said: "The [UCC] will hold a meeting tomorrow at 1 p.m. to decide measures to be taken in the case the draft is law is not approved."

The UCC launched a series of open-ended strikes nationwide to pressure the Cabinet to approve the draft law and refer it to Parliament, crippling the public sector for several days.



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