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General strike to hit Lebanon against delay in salary hike
September 26,2017   By:Xinhua
BEIRUT, Sept.26,2017-- The Association of Public Administration Employees called Monday for an open-ended strike starting Tuesday in all state institutions.
The strike, accompanied with a central sit-in at Beirut's Riad el-Solh Square, is aimed at exerting pressure on authorities to protest against the delay in payment of a long-awaited wage hike.
In a statement, the Association of Public Administration Employees said its strike "will continue until the salaries are paid according to the new schedule."
Information Minister Melhem Riachi announced Sunday that the government was inclined to suspend the wage hike before carrying out a necessary financial evaluation, following the Constitutional Council revoked a tax law that had been argued necessary to fund the new salary scale.
The Constitutional Council has revoked the tax law after 10 MPs filed an appeal against it citing alleged voting and financial auditing violations and warned that the new taxes would lower citizens' purchasing power "by 10 to 20 percent" and would also force "more than 100,000 citizens below the poverty line."
The new taxes involved increasing the VAT tax from 10 percent to 11 percent, fines on seaside violations, and taxes on cement, administrative transactions, sea imports, lottery prizes, financial firms and banks.
The Syndical Coordination Committee - a coalition of civil servants and school teachers - as well as the General Confederation of Lebanese Workers issued also Monday a joint call for a general strike on Tuesday and for participation in the Riad al-Solh sit-in.
The Syndical Coordination Committee warned in a statement that "any postponing in paying the wage hike would be an injustice against the people in light of the rise in the prices of commodities that came with the approval of the new wage scale."
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