Tensions Rise as Another Week of Strikes Loom Ahead

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Tensions Rise as Another Week of Strikes Loom Ahead

The Union Coordination Committee (UCC) announced a nationwide strike on Monday, calling for a protest at the Riad Al-Solh Square at 15:00 to warn the government against cutting the public servants' salaries or reducing their end-of-service benefits as part of its 2019 austerity budget.

The UCC stressed that salaries and social benefits are a red line that must not be crossed, threatening to stage an open-ended strike and to opt for escalation measures, that would include the boycotting of official exams, if the government fails to pay heed to their demands.

Moreover, head of Private Teachers Syndicate, Rudolph Abboud, announced a nationwide strike on Monday to denounce any salary cuts plans.

The League of Public Administration Employees staged a nationwide strike on Friday to protest against what they deemed as negative signs indicating that they would be harmed by the government's 2019 draft budget.

Speaking at a protest held in front of the VAT building in Beirut, head of the league Nawal Nasser warned that public servants will go on an open-ended strike if the new budget cuts their salaries and reduces their benefits.

Nasser stressed that the strikes were legal despite a memorandum issued by Prime Minister Saad Hariri, stipulating that the regulations and laws prohibit the paralyzation of public institutions.

A statement released by the league on Thursday said that it would wait for the decisions to be issued by the government on Friday, threatening escalation if the public servants' rights are curtailed.

Retired military officers also slammed the government's draft budget for cutting their pensions and imposing taxes on them, setting up a tent at the Riad Al-Solh Square as a protest action.

"The dignity tent will serve as a platform to defend the people's rights," the veterans said.

“After the officials insisted on imposing taxes on the retired officers while trying to cut pensions as a reward for their lifelong journey in the service of the country, they’re proposing a draft budget that hits the poor and middle classes,” they added.

“All those who remain silent over this offence are thieves who do not deserve to be Lebanese."

Furthermore, Lebanon's judges decided to carry on their strike following a meeting held at the Justice Palace in Beirut.

Source: Kataeb.org