Electricite du Liban only cutting undocumented spending - Lebanon's Finance Ministry
The [Lebanese] Finance Ministry said on Friday that cuts in the 2013 Electricite du Liban budget slashed undocumented spending and not any legitimate benefits for workers at the state-run electricity company.
“The ministry did not touch, when it drafted the EDL budget, any of the worker’s rights or allowances,” a statement from the ministry said.
The statement added that reductions had been made to unnecessary expenditures that were not supported by sufficient documentation: “Some of these cuts were withdrawn after EDL provided the needed documentation.”
The Finance Ministry said EDL employees benefited from a 2012 settlement which allowed them to become full-time employees, increasing their salaries and working hours.
“The increase in working hours eliminated the need for overtime work, because the settlement gave EDL the right to call employees to work for an additional five hours a week in case of emergencies,” the statement said.
Workers say transportation, health, overtime and other allowances were subject to severe cuts in the budget.
In January, EDL workers went on strike for nearly two weeks only to suspend their action after what they said were promises by the Energy Ministry that the cuts would be rescinded.
The Finance Ministry said it did not promise workers that it would cancel the cuts but merely said it would consider reinstating expenses substantiated by proper documentation and law.
The workers halted technical repairs and maintenance work Wednesday and Thursday and threatened to go on strike again if the budget cuts were not reversed.