Lebanon pushes ahead with general strike on Wednesday

Ahram Online and agencies, Tuesday 11 Oct 2011

Employee unions across the board are vowing to participate in strike for wages and pensions, as meeting between workers' confederation and President Suleiman fails to reach a solution

Lebanon's unions are pushing ahead with a general strike on Wednesday despite last minute attempts by the government to broker a solution. 

The General Labour Confederation, Lebanon’s largest worker coalition, has spearheaded plans for the 12 October strike demanding a more than doubling of minimum wages in the public and private sectors.
Employee unions across the board are vowing to participate in the strike.
Lebanese President Michael Suleiman held a meeting on Tuesday with the Confederation's head, Ghassan Ghosn, during which he pushed for a quick resolution of the issue.
But speaking to media afterwards, Ghosn stressed the coalition would not reverse its decision to strike.
He added that a recent demand for monthly pension payments to be increased by $20 was rejected by the government's labour ministry, headed by Charbel Nahas.
Ghosan said the government was unwilling to consider a rise of more than $16, an offer the unions have rejected.
The Federation's executive council is due to meet later on Tuesday to discuss plans for the strike.
Ghosan requested the state act to protect labour demonstrations, saying "there is a consensus obtained for strike participation by the private and public sectors."
Last week it was reported that the government committee studying pay issues was leaning towards a LL750,000 (approx. $500) monthly minimum wage, nearly LL500,000 less than unions are demanding.
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