BEIRUT: Contract workers at the Information Ministry suspended their strike Friday after receiving assurances from Speaker Nabih Berri that their employment status would be discussed in next week’s committee session.
"After receiving a promise from Speaker Nabih Berri through Information Minister Ramzi Joreige that the draft law to make us full-time employees will be on the agenda of the joint parliamentary committees on May 13 ... we called off the strike,” a statement from the workers said.
The joint committees are expected to convene Tuesday and refer the draft law to Parliament for approval during Wednesday's legislative session.
Work resumed work at the state-run National News Agency website as well as state television and radio channels after the outlets had gone dark in protest of MPs' failure to discuss their case and refer it to Parliament for approval.
Contract workers have long protested the failure to turn them into full-time employees, which would grant them state benefits.
The workers' statement also said that Berri expressed his personal concern over the case and that the minister vowed to remain on the side of the contract employees.
“Resuming work does not mean we have abandoned our rights in resorting to escalatory steps in the case our issue loses track,” the statement said.
Hours before the workers’ decision, Joreige phoned Berri and discussed the case of the ministry’s employees, expressing hope that the issue would be resolved in the near future.
A delegation from the workers met with Joreige, who informed them that the speaker listed their case on Tuesday's committee meeting agenda.
The Information Ministry workers' strike was part of the nationwide, one-week public sector strike organized by the Union Coordination Committee, demanding that Parliament approve a long-awaited wage hike.