SAWT BEIRUT INTERNATIONAL

| 2 December 2021, Thursday |

1.3 million LBP to be granted per month in support for private sector employees?

The Index Committee meeting concluded that raising the minimum wage is not possible for the time being. But rather temporary solutions were provided in response to the economic situation. So, what will private sector employees receive?

The Minister of Labor Mustafa Bayram chaired the first meeting of the Index Committee, after 5 years of being suspended, to reconsider the salaries and wages of workers in the private sector. Bayram stressed the dire need to raise the minimum wage in accordance with the inflation rates, the rise in prices and the deteriorating purchasing power, which requires careful and detailed studies for its approval, with the necessity of unifying exchange rates.

Therefore, the Minister of Labor proposed temporary practical solutions in response to the economic collapse, taking into consideration the state’s finances, employers, companies and institutions, and the dire situation of workers at the social level. A consensus was reached between employers and workers to raise the daily transportation allowance in the private sector from 24,000 LBP to 65,000 LBP, but the Minister of Labor stressed that private sector shall receive similar daily transportation allowance with the public sector, according to what the Lebanese government will decide. It was also agreed to raise school grants to the public school for each child from 400,000 LBP to 1 million LPB. In private schools, the grant value for each child will be raised from 750,000 to 2 million LBP.

As for the monthly assistance that was decided to be granted to private sector employees, a dispute arose between the General Labor Union and the economic bodies about the value of this assistance, as the “workers” insisted that it would be 2 million LBP in addition to the monthly salary, while employers want to grant those who receive only the minimum wage, an additional amount of 1.3 million LBP. The Minister of Labor objected the proposal and suggested giving all private sector employees whose salaries do not exceed 4 million LBP, an additional 1.3 million LBP per month.

Since the concerned parties did not resolve the discussion about the value of the monthly aid, the agreement was postponed to the next session of the Index Committee, which was set next Wednesday.

The government is seeking to increase the quantities of fuel it obtains from Iraq in order to increase the electricity feeding hours, which currently amounts to about 5 hours per day without the availability of other fuel sources on which Electricité du Liban depends.

Until the arrival of Egyptian gas early next year, Minister of Energy and Water Walid Fayyad is scheduled to visit Iraq to complete the talks held by the Prime Minister during his recent visit, during which he agreed with the Iraqi side to increase the quantities of fuel, and to extend cooperation with them as soon as the current contracts expire.

The Minister of Energy also revealed that there are parallel efforts to increase Lebanon’s share of Egyptian gas, “which will lead to strengthening the capabilities of EDL to produce more power.”