BEIRUT — The head of the General Confederation of Lebanese Workers Bechara al-Asmar on Thursday told L’Orient Today that he asks public sector workers to “end their open strike but stay on a partial strike so that we facilitate people’s matters.”
Here’s what we know:
• Public sector workers have been in an open-ended strike for over a month now due to the deteriorating conditions of their living situations.
• Following a meeting with Prime Minister-designate Najib Mikati on Thursday that he doesn’t want the strike “to be against the people… we can continue that strike, three or four days a week, and we should take the new pensions that the government recently approved and continue to call for our rights.” Yesterday, Mikati approved an allocation of LL4 trillion to cover hospitalization and medical expenses for civil servants along with an allocation of LL200 billion as part of the dues owed to the National Social Security Fund.
• “We can always go back to the strike. Imagine if someone wants an individual civil status extract or a paper to travel, they wouldn’t be able to because of the strike,” Asmar said. “I’m calling for this [partial ending of the strike] to relieve the pressure from these people and continue in our negotiations with the government,” he added.
• A spokesperson for the Finance Ministry told L’Orient Today on Thursday that the workers of the ministry will return to work on Monday with full staff. The spokesperson, however, said it is still not clear how many days per week these civil servants would work.