• Beirut

  • Monday, February 26, 2024 at 11:41 AM
    Last Update : Friday, March 1, 2024 at 9:26 AM

Lebanon to Raise Minimum Public Sector Wages, Minister of Labour Tells AWP

(AWP) - Lebanese caretaker Labour Minister, Moustafa Bayram, said that the country’s interim government headed by Najib Mikati is set to increase the public sector’s minimum wage this year.

The announcement comes amidst recent threats by employees to go on strike.

In an exclusive interview with AWP, Bayram said, “The minimum wage was 675,000 [Lebanese pounds] at the time of the [economic] collapse, and we raised it several times until we reached 9 million as the official minimum – equivalent to 13 times.”

He added, “We are now heading towards a greater increase, though I hesitate to mention the numbers in advance so that it won’t become an obligation that we may not be able to fulfil. However, we will add a good and beneficial increase that will enhance the minimum wage.”

Members of staff at the Ministry of Labour’s central administration had threatened a complete strike against the government’s failure to respond to their demands to improve their financial situation in light of increasing inflation rates and the depreciation of the Lebanese pound.

The Minister of Labour rejected accusations of discrimination between public sector or ministry employees, stressing that the government seeks to achieve a greater degree of justice among all workers.

Bayram said, “Priority should not be given to profit and import revenues, despite their importance to the continuity of the state. But because we are in a crisis, priority must be given to the human being and the humanitarian dimension of the employee.”

“I believe that we cannot continue in this way in the face of the strikes, sit-ins, and divisions that have occurred. The Prime Minister has announced that he will deal with the issue fairly, and this is logical and best.”

The minister highlighted “indicators that show a breakthrough in this area,” saying they must be “approved within the criteria I mentioned, and this is at the public sector level.”

Lebanese public employees say that some laws ignore their living conditions and fail to achieve wage equality among workers by discriminating based on salaries or productivity and dividing workers between employees and retirees, or civilian and military personnel.