BEIRUT: The dispute between Lebanon’s civil servants and the Cabinet entered its tenth day Thursday as protestors rallied outside government buildings.
Around 300 protesters demanding a wage hike gathered outside the building of the Finance Ministry’s Value Added Tax department in Beirut’s Mathaf before holding a sit-in outside the building of the Finance Ministry’s directorate of revenues.
Protesters then moved from the government’s building in Beirut's Beshara al-Khoury to the capital’s Downtown where they held another sit-in outside the department of real estate.
The protests, organized by Lebanon’s Union Coordination Committee, were accompanied by tight security measures from Lebanon’s security forces.
As protests went on, a ministerial committee tasked with discussing the controversial wage hike met at around 11 a.m. in the Grand Serail.
The wage hike for the public sector, estimated to cost the treasury around $1.2 billion annually, was endorsed by Cabinet last year but still needs to be referred to Parliament.
Prime Minister Najib Mikati has repeatedly urged workers to have patience, saying that his Cabinet is committed to the new wage scale but still needs to discuss ways to fund the increase in salaries.
The UCC also called for another sit-in Friday outside the Labor Ministry building in the Beirut neighborhood of Shiyah.