Staff at EDL (Lebanese Electricity) have given notice of strike action to begin on May 4.
Staff are demanding that the government honour long-standing promises over wages and contracts. Specifically they are asking for pay rises that were due in 1996, 1997 and 1998. Furthermore they are demanding that all employees be advanced 4 levels on the pay scale. They are calling for a long service bonus for staff. They are also calling for all workers to be given permanent contracts and for pay inequalities between different categories of worker to be levelled out.
Another key point is their refusal to be privatised, workers are proud of the effort they put in to rebuild Lebanon's shattered infrastructure and according to a spokesman "Our institution is not for sale. We built it with the sweat of our brows. We will not allow someone to buy it and make a fortune from it." Incidentally Israel's attacks on Lebanon last year came on the day that an anti-privatisation strike was supposed to begin.
The lebanese government is claiming that the in order to modernise the system and to make it fairer the service must be privatised. EDL claims that some 60% of electricity bills go unpaid and that some 50% of all electricity is tapped from the system. One of their meter readers was shot in the head last week, supposedly by the caretaker of the building he was trying to enter.