General strike in Lebanon called off

Oct. 12, 2011 at 12:10 PM

BEIRUT, Lebanon, Oct. 12 (UPI) -- Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati said the minimum wage raises that averted a general strike were the highest the government can afford.

The prime minister said, "We had to take into consideration the capabilities of the state and the private sector, as well as the impact on inflation," The Beirut Daily Star reported Wednesday. "This may not be the best solution, but under the circumstances this is the best we can offer."

The last minute deal averted a strike that would have included bankers, teachers and labor coalitions.

Private firms, however, have objected to the deal. Businesses had agreed to most of the minimum wage increases, but had expected lower increases for transportation and education allowances, the newspaper said.

The head of the General Labor Coalition, Ghassan Ghosn, also said the union could revisit the strike after a thorough review of the government's proposals.

"We have some reservations to the deal reached by the government, and we intend to hold a broad meeting Thursday to discuss this issue and take appropriate measures," he said.

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