Lebanon News

Bakery owners threaten to strike starting Monday

A bread bakery in Beirut, Tuesday, April 17, 2012. (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)

BEIRUT: The Union of Bakery Owners Thursday threatened to strike if no solutions are found to the dollar shortage over the next few days.

“We declare a strike on Monday, Oct. 14, in all bakeries ... in all regions of Lebanon,” union head Kazem Ibrahim said at a meeting of bakery owners.

“We cannot continue in this situation. ... We sell in Lebanese [pounds] and we must pay in dollars, so how can we buy the dollar for LL1,600?” Ibrahim said.

The union chief added that many promises had been made, but that no positive developments had come to fruition thus far.

He pointed out that they were “feeding [other] people but starving our children.”

Rising concerns over a dollar liquidity crunch have fueled fears of a possible devaluation of the Lebanese pound. While the authorized trading band for $1 is LL1,501-1,514, unofficial exchange rates have exceeded LL1,600.

The announcement comes shortly after mill owners in Lebanon announced that they would start charging for flour in dollars, a move that could lead to bread shortages across the country.

A gathering of Lebanese mill owners issued a statement Tuesday, saying they were unable to gain access through banks to the amount of dollars necessary to operate.

They said Central Bank measures to secure dollars at the official fixed exchange rate for imports of fuel, medicine and wheat were not adequate.





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