Minister of Labor urges
unemployed: take low-skill jobs
Yammine: “It’s difficult to create

job opportunities in this economy”

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Lamia Yammine, the new Minister of Labor, said Lebanese citizens will have to take on low-skilled jobs traditionally filled by non-Lebanese workers in order to cope with the economic crisis.

In an interview with AL Jazeera, she said: “It’s difficult to create job opportunities in this economy which will require a comprehensive government plan. But what we can do is to encourage the Lebanese, via a campaign, to take jobs they wouldn’t usually work in - for example in restaurants, at fuel stations, and at the airport.”

This means many employees accustomed to salaried jobs with benefits could find themselves taking low-skilled jobs with hourly or low pay – a sign of the large social shift that the country’s crisis may force upon the population.

The World Bank last year estimated that up to half of Lebanon's population could fall into poverty, up from 30 percent in 2018. Unemployment is especially high among the youth, reaching 23.3 percent according to a recent household survey by the Central Administration of Statistics.

“We are working on an emergency plan to deal with people that have been laid off, to mediate between employers and employees,” she said. “We can’t prevent companies from taking this step, but we can exert pressure to get the best results possible,” the new minister said.

As part of her plan, Yammine said she would continue a process that began under her predecessor to have foreigners apply for work permits, instead of working without proper documentation.

“Priority must be given to the Lebanese - foreign workers are here and have rights - but we need to organize them better,” she said.
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Date Posted: Jan 31, 2020