Cabinet raises minimum wage to $578 including upgraded transport fees
The Cabinet adopted on Wednesday (December 21) the wage increase proposal submitted by Minister of Labor Charbel Nahas in November.
During its session on December 7, the Cabinet voted against Nahas’ proposal, and adopted instead a draft submitted by Prime Minister Najib Mikati.
The adopted decision calls for raising the minimum wage to $578. This sum includes an upgraded $157 transportation allowance.
The private sector economic bodies had not yet commented on the decision. But separate statements by business leaders denounced the decision, dubbing it a “political move”.
According to the president of the Chambers of Commerce, Industry, and Agriculture, Mohamad Choucair, the main point of disagreement over Nahas’ wage raise formula is the inclusion of transportation fees into the basic salary.
“Some institutions, industrialists for instance, have transportation means for their employees and thus do not pay transportation fees,” he said.
Choucair expected the Shura Council to reject the draft decree.
Shortly before Wednesday’s Cabinet session, Mikati had agreed with representatives of the economic bodies and labor unions on raising the basic minimum wage to $450.
“(The president of the General Confederation of Labor Unions) Ghassan Ghosn had agreed with us on Mikati’s proposal, I don’t know if he changed his mind for some political reason,” Choucair said.
Nahas’ decision divided wage increases according to two salary brackets. The first bracket, up to $1,000, would receive an 18 percent increase. The second bracket, from $1,000 to $1,666, would receive an additional ten percent. Wages exceeding $1,666 will not get an additional increase. The decision also raised the official minimum daily wage to $22.
If adopted through a Cabinet decree, the wage raise would be effective as of the first of this December.
The decision also raised the education allowances to $26 per month for every child with a maximum of $106 per month for all children in a family.
The GCLU said that it will meet on Friday (December 23) to determine its stance on the decision, and thus decided whether or not to suspend its nationwide strike planned for December 27.
Date Posted: Dec 22, 2011