Lebanon Businessnews News

EDL workers' sit-in to linger
No breakthrough in EDL standoff,
company warns of country-wide blackout
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Cabinet has failed to find a solution for the crisis between Electricité du Liban (EDL) and contract workers during its session on Tuesday. The three-month old impasse is now threatening the power supply to the whole country.

The protesting contract workers and bill collectors, who have been demanding full-employment at EDL for over three months now, said they will go on with their sit-in until their demands are met. “The protest will continue until the Cabinet finds a solution for our fair cause,” said Mohamad Fayad, chief of the follow-up committee of contract workers and bill collectors. The workers are also calling on the State-run energy company to pay them their wages for June and July.

Kamal Hayek, director general of EDL, said that the company can’t pay the workers their salaries for the past two months because their contracts have expired. He urged workers to end their sit-in, adding that the issue is now in the hands of the parliament.

Jad el Rumh, a workers' representative said “our demand (for full-employment at EDL) has already been approved by Parliament.”

“A report prepared by Hayek in 2011 showed that the company needs around 3,050 workers (to fill its shortfall in manpower) whereas the Ministry of Energy intends to hire only 750,” Rumh said.

Ghassan Ghosn, president of the General Confederation of Labor Unions (GCLU) said talks are underway between the President, the Prime Minister, and Cabinet members in order to resolve the crisis. He said the most likely resolution is the draft law adopted in Parliament last month.

EDL’s board of directors on Monday warned that the country could face a total blackout if the company’s headquarters in Mar Mikhael remain occupied.

Reported by Abeer Darwiche

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Date Posted: Jul 31, 2012