EDL workers row hoped to end in 48 hours
Ministry of Interior intervenes to resolve three-month long crisis risking power supply
The Ministry of Interior will intervene to try and resolve the dispute between Electricité du Liban and contract workers within 48 hours. “We hope that the situation would be resolved within the coming 48 hours, otherwise we would have to take our own measures,” said Kamal Hayek, director general of the State power utility.
Hayek had earlier warned that a total blackout will descend over the whole country if the sit-in at (EDL) does not end soon. He said that the contract workers’ sit-in, which has been going on for three months now, threatens EDL with collapse.
Hourly-wage workers and bill collectors escalated their protests yesterday, moving their sit-in into the EDL building. Some of them also said they had gone on hunger strike. The workers are demanding the company pay their salaries for May and June. They are also calling on the cabinet to publish the law which authorizes their permanent employment at EDL.
Energy rationing has worsened since the strike began in May. Hayek said the protests have halted all network repairs and maintenance work, which has weakened the already failing power supply. He also said power supply from Syria, some150MW, had also ceased due to the company’s failure to pay its subscription.
The collection of EDL bills has also been suspended since May. Hayek said that some bill collectors are withholding more than $650,000 collected from subscribers before the sit in began.
Reported by Hanadi Chami
Date Posted: Jul 17, 2012