Lebanon Businessnews News

Wage debate heats up
GCLU wasted opportunities to improve workers’ conditions: Ministry of Labor
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The Ministry of Labor said in a statement on December 5 that the General Confederation of Labor Unions (GCLU) has wasted several opportunities for improving the conditions of workers in the country.

The GCLU had rejected a set of wage correction decrees proposed by the Minister of Labor Charbel Nahas. The proposals included raising the minimum wage to around $570, after adding the transportation allowances to the basic salary.

The ministry said that the GCLU failed to implement the National Social Security Council (NSSF)’s law in terms of attaining a universal health coverage plan, and incorporating transportation fees within the basic salary.

The GCLU is represented at the NSSF’s board of directors through ten members, out of a total of 26 members.

According to the ministry’s statement, the GCLU insisted on keeping the transportation allowance as a temporary allowance instead of integrating it into the basic salary. The ministry said that the GCLU was thus helping employers evade higher NSSF subscriptions (which represent a percentage of the basic salary).

A cabinet decree adopted the transportation allowance in 1995 as a temporary provision to be renewed yearly until a joint public transport system is brought into effect.

Business leaders have also rejected including the transportation allowances in the basic salary. They argued that such allowances (transportation and education) should be provided by the government rather than the employer.

The Cabinet is set to convene on Wednesday (December 7) with Nahas’ draft decrees on its agenda. The unions representing public high school teachers have threatened to take to streets if a wage increase decree is not issued during Wednesday’s session.
Date Posted: Dec 06, 2011
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