Government services were brought to a halt and an estimated half a million students stayed home from school on Thursday, October 23, 2003, as Lebanon’s civil servants and school teachers launched a day-long strike to protest the 2004 draft budget.
Demonstrating on cabinet headquarters, the nation’s labor unions are protesting what they call “government starvation policies”. Unpopular items in the budget include the privatization of mutual funds that cover healthcare and after-service indemnities for public school teachers, Lebanese University professors and civil servants.
Protestors are also voicing opposition to a seven-year freeze on civil worker wage increases and additional cost of living allowances, reported Daily Star.
The strike has affected operations at Beirut’s port and airport, Electricite du Liban, banks and public and private schools. Taxi drivers, National Social Security Fund employees and several other unions also said they would join the strike. — (menareport.com)
© 2003 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )