BEIRUT: Lebanese Forces MP George Adwan Friday urged public workers and teachers holding a weeklong strike against Parliament’s plan to reduce a wage hike to accept the $1.2 billion pay deal.
“To the public and private sectors, as well as the economic sector and teachers, I urge rationality over approving the salary scale,” Adwan told reporters in Parliament.
“We don’t want to plunge the country into instability,” he stressed. “I call for rationality in dealing with the salary scale issue.”
Adwan, who is a member of the special committee tasked with studying the pay raise issue, said he hoped the committee would present its recommendations to Parliament for a vote by Wednesday.
Government offices and public schools in Lebanon closed Friday for the second day of a weeklong strike in protest against a plan to reduce a wage hike for civil servants by $700 million.
Some government offices opened their doors despite the Union Coordination Committee’s call for a strike, and private schools defied the call.
In a move seen as an escalation of the standoff over the salary scale, the UCC Thursday called for boycotting official exams and holding a “day of rage” next week if Parliament fails to meet its demands.
UCC head Hanna Gharib called for the strike Wednesday after the parliamentary committee reduced the total funding from LL2.8 trillion to LL1.8 trillion.
The committee endorsed a number of proposals such as raising the value added tax from 10 percent to 11 percent, increasing customs by 1 percent and increasing taxes on bank profits from 15 to 17 percent.
Speaker Nabih Berri called Parliament to convene on May 14 to review the parliamentary committee’s recommendation.
Meanwhile, the National News Agency said Information Ministry workers would call off their strike after receiving assurances from Berri.
NNA Director General Laure Sleiman told The Daily Star that Berri had promised to include Information Ministry contract workers' demand on the agenda of next week's parliamentary session.
Contract workers with the Information Ministry announced a strike Thursday afternoon, suspending activity at the state-run NNA, radio station and at the public sector Center of Studies and Publication until next Wednesday.