Lebanese transport unions to postpone strike
Representatives of maritime shipping and transport agencies announced Tuesday the suspension of a strike scheduled for Wednesday at Beirut Port in order to meet instead with Public Works and Transportation Minister Ghazi Aridi and negotiate their demands.
A statement issued by representatives of five unions said the decision to suspend the strike would open the door for negotiations with the minister Wednesday. The statement added that some of the unions’ demands had already been met by the Port of Beirut Authority and the Beirut Container Terminal Consortium, a private company managing the port’s container terminal.
The Port of Beirut Authority and BCTC have agreed to facilitate administrative and financial dealings at the port, provide an additional container examination yard, allocate parking spots for employees and allow easier access for trucks transporting containers from the port. But the unions said they would still pursue additional demands including the need to upgrade the port’s IT system, which they said fails constantly and causes significant delays.
They added that the port authority should speed up the process of shipping back empty containers currently occupying a big area of the port. Refund transactions should be processed by the authority more quickly, they said.
The unions had announced the strike last week to protest bureaucratic procedures that were causing “suffocating” delays at the port. The unions said mismanagement contributed significantly toward congestion in the port’s already-busy container terminal.