BEIRUT — A resolution to the Ogero employee strike was stalled Thursday when employees rejected a proposal regarding their working conditions, caretaker Telecommunications Minister Johnny Corm said in an interview with "Voice of Lebanon" radio station.
Employees of the state-owned telecommunications company announced Monday that they would not end their strike before Thursday, as they awaited a reply to their demand for salary increases. The employees maintained their strike despite Corm's Monday signing of of four decrees intended to improve their working conditions.
Ogero employees began their strike on Aug. 30.
"Things have been hampered in the Ogero employees' strike due to the employees' rejection of the last proposal of securing LL128 billion to be paid as social assistance and not as salary," said Corm on Thursday, according to the state-run National News Agency.
The minister added that the strike "will cost the country a great deal." L'Orient Le Jour reached out to the Ogero worker's syndicate for comment and is awaiting a response.
In his upcoming meeting with Ogero's administration and the Ministerial Committee to Address the Repercussions of the Financial Crisis on the Operation of the Public Sector, Corm said he will focus on finding common ground and, eventually, "a solution to save the country."
Corm also said that "the State does not have [enough funds in] reserve, so it is not possible to treat all the public sectors fairly."
The head of Ogero, Imad Kreidieh, confirmed Monday that Corm signed three decrees in response to the employees' demands. The first decree granted a monthly sum for "social assistance," the second granted a raise in employees' transportation allowance and the third granted "attendance" payments for the next two months. The demand for a salary increase to help employees to cope with rampant inflation was not met.
A fourth decree requested a treasury advance of around LL128 billion from the Finance Ministry, sourced from the 2022 budget reserves. The advance required the signature of both the caretaker finance minister and Prime Minister Najib Mikati.
The strike has led to a series of breakdowns in internet and telephone networks across Lebanon.