BEIRUT

Lebanon News

Mikati: No referral of salary scale proposal without funding

Prime Minister Najib Mikati heads a Cabinet session at the Grand Serail in Beirut, Lebanon, Wednesday, March 21, 2012. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)

BEIRUT: Prime Minister Najib Mikati said in remarks Wednesday that the Cabinet would only refer to Parliament a proposed salary scale adjustment for public sector workers after the necessary funding for it was secured.

“The wage scale [adjustment] for public sector workers will only be referred to Parliament if the appropriate sources of funding become available,” Mikati told As-Safir newspaper.

The Union Coordination Committee, a coalition of private and public school teachers and public sector employees, announced Tuesday a general strike to be held on Oct. 10 and vowed it would not back down from its demands for a public sector salary increase.

The UCC insists that the Cabinet forward the salary scale draft law for endorsement in Parliament.

Three weeks ago, the government adopted a new wage scale but has yet to refer it to Parliament for final approval.

The measure, should it be approved, would see category one employees (such as general directors of public departments) receiving an increase on LL2.9 million a month; category two employees would get an LL1.7 million hike; category three employees would get an LL940,000 increase; and the state’s lowest-ranking clerks should receive a LL210,000 hike.

Public high-school teachers, the main advocates of the new scale, will receive around LL1 million in raises, while public elementary school teachers will receive LL789,000.

Earlier this week, Lebanon’s Economic Committees handed Mikati a copy of a study that warns of negative consequences of the implementation of the wage scale adjustment.

The committees, supported by the private sector, have voiced fear that any hasty wage hike for public sector employees would cause a rise in inflation and increase in the budget deficit.

Although not dismissing the proposed wage hike, Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh says he favors implementing the increase in increments over the next three years to reduce the impact of the measure on the monetary situation and inflation.

 

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