Energy Minister Slams Interior, Justice Ministries over EDL Crisis

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Energy Minister Arthur Nazarian lashed out on Monday at the Internal Security Forces for failing to end the “occupation” at the Electricite du Liban headquarters in Beirut’s Mar Mikhael neighborhood.

“The company is being occupied by the contract workers,” Nazarian said in a press conference from the Zouk power plant after a meeting with the company’s board of directors.

He accused the Interior and Justice Ministers of failing to assume their duties regarding the EDL crisis.

The minister warned that the failure to collect electricity bills threatens the salaries of employees and will increase the burden on the citizens.

“The ongoing abnormal phenomenon will have negative repercussions and plunge the country into complete darkness due to the reduction in productivity,” Nazarian said.

Most of Lebanon have been plunged into darkness recently as the gap between the EDL contract workers and management increased, threatening further electricity rationing.

“Citizens will lose their trust in the judiciary due to its failure to end these suspicious acts,” Nazarian said.

He stressed that the law “prevents anyone from occupying a state institution,” pointing out that the company’s Director General Kamal al-Hayek is ready to engage in a dialogue with the contract workers.

The contract workers have been on an open-ended strike for the past four weeks and have closed the gates of the company’s HQ in Mar Mikhael.

The rift between EDL board of directors and the contract workers increased when several of them erected tents at the EDL HQ and sealed off the gates to press the company to adopt their full-time employment.

The company’s board of directors has claimed that a law, adopted by parliament in April, only allows 897 workers to become full-timers.

Last week, the contract workers prevented full-time employees from entering the premises of the company’s HQ, prompting Hayek of describing their acts as “outrageous.”

He accused them of “taking the company hostage” to press the implementation of their demands.

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