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"My name is Suzanne; I am a 38 years old, mother of 3 teenagers.

My husband deserted us when my 3rd boy was a toddler still. I have been working odd jobs to raise my family and provide them with the basic necessities...

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Beirut will rise again!
*Participate in the reconstruction of Beirut homes with BASSMA!*

 

After the tragic explosion in Beirut, hundred thousands of persons are left homeless.

 

BASSMA commits once again to stand next to Lebanese families through the House Renovation Program,
By helping rebuild their homes and cover their basic needs.

 

FOR YOUR DONATION: CLICK HERE

 

We rely on a dedicated team of volunteers and count on your generous donations to renovate damaged houses.

 

Together we can draw back smiles on people’s faces and restore their dignity.

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source: www.dailystar.com.lb

 

BEIRUT: President Michel Slieman has signed the new salary scale law and referred it to Parliament for approval, the Union Coordination Committee said Friday, but warned teachers would return to strikes if Parliament failed to remove the amendments made by the Finance Ministry on the bill. “The salary scale was forwarded to Parliament but it is riddled with problems and amendments we cannot accept, Hanna Gharib told The Daily Star.

“The draft law does not allocate funds for salary increases and stipulates its implementation to a ceiling they want to keep on budget deficit,” he said.

Gharib said amendments rejected by the union include a 9.75 percent reduction on the overall value of the wage hike and the payment of raises in installments over four years.

The union also rejects a reform plan attached to the bill that conditions raises to increasing the working hours of public servants, he added.

According to the draft law, working hours for the public sector would be extended to 5 p.m. from the current 2 p.m., and Saturdays would be day off.

Nehme Mahfoud, head of the Private Teachers Association – the private sector component of the UCC – echoed Gharib views.

A plan to increase retirement age for teachers by up to five years “destroys historical rights for teachers and cannot pass under any circumstances,” he said.

While the 9.75 percent reduction is negotiable, the union cannot accept paying the raises in installments, he said.

“Paying the wage hikes in installments would render the new salary scale worthless, given the current inflation rates in Lebanon,” he said.

Mahfoud said the UCC would work with Parliament to remove these amendments, warning that the union would go back to strikes and protests, if lawmakers do not show flexibility.

Gharib and Mahfoud said around 400 UCC delegates would be meeting in a general assembly Tuesday. The delegates are expected to study the draft law and decide on a final action plan.

While Gharib expected educators to decide on boycotting marking grade 9 and 12 official exams, Mahfoud said that teachers should go ahead with correcting the exam papers to save students from more delays.

In March, Mikati’s Cabinet approved the plan to boost public sector salaries after the UCC staged protests across the country, forcing the closure of public schools and government offices for over a month.

In order to come up with funds needed for the raise, the plan includes raising the value added tax on cars, cellphones and accessories, alcohol and other luxury products from 10 to 15 percent.

But observers seriously doubt the parliament will convene soon to review and approve the salary scale due to the deep political divisions over the electoral law and differences over the involvement of some Lebanese parties in the Syrian conflict.

The implementation of the salary scale is also very difficult in view of the absence of a Cabinet.

Prime Minister-designate Tamam Salam has failed so far to form a Cabinet as a result of conditions and counter-conditions demanded by March 8 and 14 parties.

image: Mohammad Kheir/The Daily Star
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