BEIRUT — Education Minister Abbas Halabi has presented a financial proposal, including salary increases and other benefits, meant to placate the demands of public school teachers, who threatened to strike if their compensation package was not adjusted to account for the effects of the economic crisis.
Here’s what we know:
• During a meeting of Parliament’s Education Committee yesterday, Halbi promised full-time teachers a raise equivalent to half their current salary, an additional $90 a month paid out at the parallel market exchange rate and a higher transportation allowance, according to Manal Hdaife, a member of the Public Primary Schools Teachers League, who also attended the meeting. Part-time teachers’ salaries will be raised by LL10,000 an hour, bringing their hourly wages to LL30,000, the minister said.
• Hdaife said that the teachers league will convene tonight to decide whether to accept or reject the plan, “but so far it seems that the majority of the teachers have accepted this plan.” She added, “In case the association does not accept these numbers, we will announce an open-ended strike.”
• The league announced last month that public school teachers countrywide would strike if their compensation packages were not improved, saying their current salaries, which are paid entirely in lira, and benefits did not afford them a decent standard of living amid the economic crisis, which has seen the lira’s value against the US dollar slide by about 90 percent.
• Albert Chamoun, an Education Ministry media adviser, told L’Orient Today, “Education Minister Abbas Halabi and Finance Minister Youssef Khalil will meet tomorrow to make a final decision on the proposed plan. If Khalil accepts the plan, Minister Halabi will announce it, and it will then be official.”
• The public school year in Lebanon was supposed to start on Sept.27, but the Education Ministry pushed the date until Oct.11 in a bid to continue negotiations with teachers and prevent a strike. Parents of public school students told L’Orient Today that the delay is leading to increased fears of another lost or curtailed academic year.