Lebanese teachers and university professors held a one-day strike on Thursday to demand higher wage increases, the first stage of protests which could lead to a wider strike by labour unions later this month.
Thursday’s strike followed a cabinet decision to raise the minimum wage by 100,000 pounds to 600,000 pounds ($400) a month, with a 30 per cent increase for salaries between 500,000 and 1 million pounds and a 20 percent rise for salaries above that.
Those raises had been scaled down from a more generous settlement agreed by the government in October but rejected by the private sector as a crippling blow to business.Workers complain that there has been no increase in the minimum wage since 2008 and the government measures do not reflect sharp rises in the cost of living.
“The increases they have offered don’t match the demands of professors and teachers and other workers,” said Hassan Al Shami, who joined a demonstration of hundreds of people marching through central Beirut.
The head of Lebanon’s General Labour Confederation Ghassan Ghosn told reporters this week that Thursday’s strike by teachers would be the prelude to a national general strike on Dec.27 calling for more generous wage increases.