Lebanon Businessnews News

Economic bodies
and labor unions join forces
To provide health

coverage and retirement pension

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Relations between economic bodies and the General Confederation of Labor Unions (GCLU) are stronger than ever. The two sides have agreed to work together on projects that could boost social security and enhance the conditions of employees.

Both parties are members in a Parliamentary commission to debate two projects they both recommended. Nicolas Chammas, Chairman of Beirut Trader’s Association, said that after negotiations, both parties agreed on providing health coverage for people above 64 who are no longer subscribed to the National Social Security Fund. A project that will terminate the end-of-service system and instead adopt a retirement pension scheme was also approved by both parties.

The funding mechanism was settled for both projects. This, according to Chammas, will be funded by three parties: The Government (which is responsible for covering 25 percent of the NSSF’s bill), as well as the employers and the employees. “Although employers will be bearing the largest percentage, we nevertheless agreed on this project, as the set regulations are unfair to employers and we need to enhance them,” said Chammas.

Nabil Fahed, Vice President of the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture in Beirut and Mount Lebanon (CCIABML), said: “Negotiations with the labor syndicates and unions is continuous, and based on sound logic to reach solutions suitable for both parties.”

Fahed said that the economic bodies agreed with labor unions that all vacancies will be filled by locals only, in light of the huge influx of Syrian refugees. Syndicates circulated requests to all employers to commit to this decision and avoid employing Syrians, as this will affect the economy.

Ghassan Ghosn, Chairman of GCLU, said: “The relations with the economic bodies were inoperative for several years. They started improving in 2011 while debating the increase of the minimum wages to employees.”

Chammas said that discussions with the union did not stop since that date. “The economic bodies understand the employees’ requests, and they in turn understand the extent of our suffering.”

The positive relationship between the GCLU and the economic bodies was further reinforced by the CCIABML honoring Ghosn for his recent election as President of the Arab Federation of Labor Unions.
Reported by Rania Ghanem
Date Posted: Jul 15, 2016
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