Lebanon – Miqati Says Final Evaluation of Wage Scale Financing is Underway: Street Escalation Won’t Lead Anywhere

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Prime Minister Najib Miqati stated on Wednesday that the Syndicate Coordination Committee’s movements are “futile and useless”, urging the protesters to refrain from escalation as “it will not lead anywhere”.

“No one is against the new wage scale,” Miqati expressed during Wednesday’s cabinet session, adding that he had explained his point of view to the SCC in this regard.

“The SCC, however, is seeking media attention,” he expressed.

Miqati revealed that a final evaluation of the revenues needed to fund the new wage scale is being conducted at the moment.

The Prime Minister said that an agreement has been reached on a series of measures to address some security issues “in a wise and calm manner”.

“But some people have not appreciated this approach,” he remarked.

The SCC had urged on Wednesday President Michel Suleiman to call for an extraordinary cabinet session, vowing to stage a general strike if its demands weren’t met by the end of the week.

Angry protesters held banners that read “we will not back down until the new salary scale is referred to the parliament without any delay”.

Finance Minister Mohammed Safadi, however, said that new wage scale will not be discussed at Wednesday’s cabinet session.

Radio Voice of Lebanon (100.5) reported earlier on Wednesday that Education Minister Hassan Diab will raise the issue of the new wage scale during the cabinet sessions, describing the situation as unbearable.

Meanwhile, Tourism Minister Fadi Abboud told VDL: “No one is against the new wage scale, but I personally won’t raise the issue”.

The cabinet has been stalling in finding sources to fund the scale that was approved last year, leading to growing differences with the SCC, which has been accusing it of negligence.

The government argues that it is delaying the decision on the funding in an attempt to thoroughly discuss plans to boost the treasury’s revenue to cover the expenses of the salaries boost.

The SCC, a coalition of private and public school teachers and public sector employees, kicked off last week an open-ended strike to protest the government’s procrastination.

 

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