BEIRUT — The Electricité du Liban workers’ union, in a statement issued after its meeting Tuesday, called for a three-day protest starting Wednesday to contest the ministry’s plan to “prioritize private electricity distribution companies” while “ignoring the salary and contractual injustices faced by workers,” the state-run National News Agency reported.
Here’s what we know:
• The statement called on EDL workers to “protest through a sit-in at work centers during which they would halt all work on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, except what would constitute a danger to public safety.”
• The union’s statement expressed its “categorical refusal of everything that figured in the [energy minister’s] plan regarding the extension of DSPs’ [distribution companies’] contracts.” The union criticized the “advances” allocated to DSPs and the “exceptional power and control over distribution” granted to them in Energy Minister Walid Fayyad’s “plan to revitalize EDL.”
• Among the expanded powers that would be granted to DSPs contested by the union are “printing invoices and being able to cancel their monetary value, installing smart meters without referring to [EDL], employing inspectors, and issuing fines.”
• The statement also suspected a conflict of interest between the BUTEC utility service distribution company, which maintains and operates the electricity distribution grid in northern Mount Lebanon and North Lebanon, and the World Bank-affiliated International Finance Services.
• The statement also demanded that EDL employees be offered wages “priced using the same mechanism” and equal to those offered to employees at the DSP companies. In addition to wage increases, the workers’ statement also called for “comprehensive” insurance coverage and retirement benefits.