BEIRUT — The open-ended strike announced by the land transport unions last Friday was confirmed to start this Thursday by the syndicate’s head, Bassam Tleis, during a Tuesday press conference.
Here’s what we know:
• During the conference, Tleis expressed his “apologies to workers, employees and students who will not be able to reach their jobs on Thursday,” noting that the strike had been scheduled for the “date on which the government will be forced to enact its agreement with the land transport sector.”
• The mobilization is scheduled for Thursday, with Tleis calling on public transport drivers in Beirut to rally between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. in Dora, at the Cola bridge, near the Kuwaiti Embassy and in Martyr’s square.
• Tleis also protested the increased frequency with which the Energy Ministry has been releasing fuel price lists, and called on public institutions to “preserve citizens’ purchasing power.” The Ministry of Energy has replaced its weekly release of fuel price lists with two releases per week in order to keep up with the fluctuating informal exchange rate and the price of fuel.
• On Oct. 7, public transport drivers staged a similar protest that briefly caused congestion throughout the country. The land transport unions reportedly struck a deal with the government that includes supporting public transport drivers through a plan agreed on with Public Works Minister Ali Hamieh and funded by a World Bank loan, estimated at $55 million, intended for transport projects.