BEIRUT — “Banks will remain closed until the safety of bank employees is guaranteed by the state,” Lebanon's bank employees federation said in a statement Thursday, following a meeting to discuss a security plan for their ailing sector.
The Federation of Bank Employees' Unions in Lebanon stated that it “refuses to return colleagues to work without security measures in place to ensure their security and the security of depositors during working hours.” The past week saw a spate of bank holdups by angry depositors demanding to withdraw their own funds.
The Thursday statement noted that threats against the banks are still circulating on social media, the latest of which "by the Lebanese Bank Depositors Association," which reportedly encouraged depositors to "free their money."
The Federation also called on security services to prosecute those who “made these threats and encouraged violations of the law and the use of weapons to intimidate workers in the banking sector.”
Finally, the statement said the bank employees "apologize to all the bank customers, especially those who receive their salaries through the settlement system, and will suffer due to the closure of banks." The employees plan to hold a protest before the end of September.
As of a statement Wednesday by the Association of Banks in Lebanon (ABL), banks countrywide will remain closed indefinitely. The announcement came after a three-day strike that started Monday.