BEIRUT — Caretaker Telecommunications Minister, Johnny Corm, confirmed to L’Orient-Le Jour Friday that the employee strike at state-owned telecommunications company Ogero, which had been ongoing since Aug. 30, will be suspended for a week starting Friday.
This decision follows long discussions between the Syndicate of Ogero Workers and different government and Ogero officials since the beginning of the strike after some measures were taken to meet some of the employees' demands. The negotiations will still be ongoing in order to push for more demands, one of which includes a salary increase that has not yet been granted.
Corm had signed four decrees Monday in an effort to improve the working conditions for employees. These decrees consisted of a monthly amount of “social assistance,” an increase in employees' transport allowance, payments rewarding the “presence” of the employees for the next two months and a bonus increase for the “cost of living.” All in all, this aid amounts to an envelope of LL224 billion, including LL128 billion relating to this last claim during a previous set of negotiations.
The first three decrees had been accepted by the strikers on Monday, although they opposed the fourth decree, which qualifies this increase as additional social assistance and not as a long-term salary increase.
"Obstacles exist regarding the talks on the strike due to the rejection by the workers of the latest proposal to release 128 billion Lebanese pounds which would be paid in the form of social assistance and not wages," said Corm on Thursday. He added that the strike “will cost the country very dearly.”
No decisions taken
Corm said in a statement Friday that "the atmosphere was very positive" in a second meeting this week of the ministerial committee tasked with examining the repercussions of the financial crisis. He added that he had met with the Ogero workers' syndicate Friday morning, which had also been "positive."
He said that a "path" to a solution exists "and must be implemented now." As for whether the ministerial committee resolved the issue of the Ogero strike during its meeting Friday, Corm said that "an agreement has been reached in principle, and we will be finalizing the matter."
However, the committee "was not able to take any decisions at any level" regarding other public sector issues discussed during the meeting, caretaker Social Affairs Minister Hector Hajjar said in a statement, adding that "the sessions will continue until solutions are found, especially at the level of military forces, education and the judiciary and all sectors."
During Corm's meeting Wednesday morning with the Ogero administration and the ministerial committee responsible for examining the repercussions of the financial crisis on the functioning of the public sector, the telecoms minister said that he would try to find a common ground agreement and, eventually, "a solution to save the country." "The state does not have sufficient reserves, and therefore it is not possible to treat all public sectors equally," he said.
Telecoms services have been undergoing a series of complications and malfunctions for the past week in several areas around the country, most notably through power outages and the unavailability of diesel fuel for backup generators for certain power stations. This has affected the quality of communications and internet services, which have faced sporadic and long-lasting disruptions.
BEIRUT — Caretaker Telecommunications Minister, Johnny Corm, confirmed to L’Orient-Le Jour Friday that the employee strike at state-owned telecommunications company Ogero, which had been ongoing since Aug. 30, will be suspended for a week starting Friday.This decision follows long discussions between the Syndicate of Ogero Workers and different government and Ogero officials since the...