More strike action in Lebanon
A Potentially tough day at the office for Lebanon's Prime Minister Najib Mikati as a general strike is called
In a statement, the UCC called on "teachers, retirees and ministers to express anger tomorrow [Tuesday] and the day after tomorrow over the government's policy with regards to the salary scale by participating in the general strike."
Civil servants are also asked to hold sit-ins outside ministers and other public institutions in protest of the governments’ delay and stalling in referring the new salary scale to Parliament for final approval.
Despite repeated strikes by the UCC, a coalition of private and public school and public sector employees, the Cabinet has said that it needs time to ensure revenues for the pay hike.
Lebanon’s Economic Committees has warned that approval of the salary scale would burden the private sector which is already reeling under a weak economy.
The body along with Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh has also warned against the negative impact of the proposed taxes to finance the pay hikes.
The Cabinet is proposing to raise taxes on interest on customer deposits from 5 to 7 percent, raising value added taxes on luxury goods such as imported goods, adding fees on invoices collected by the government to secure LL50 billion; adding fees on telephone bills and raising taxes on construction permits among others.
The salary scale, approved by the Cabinet in September, will cost the treasury between $1.5 billion to $2 billion a year and this figure is likely to rise in the coming years if the employees of other public sectors enjoy the hefty wage increase.
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