In Beirut, teachers vow to extend strike

Feb. 27, 2013 at 1:00 PM

BEIRUT, Lebanon, Feb. 27 (UPI) -- Leaders of a teachers' union in Lebanon called for the government to pass a wage hike, as an open-ended strike continued Wednesday.

The strike that began in mid-February has affected government operations and public schools, The Beirut Daily Star reported.

Teachers took to the streets Wednesday in Beirut carrying signs demanding the Cabinet refer a wage hike measure to Parliament.

"Unleash the salary scale," one sign read.

"Be ready for a general strike across Lebanon if the pay scale is not referred to Parliament this week," Hanna Gharib, head of the Union Coordination Committee, said at a midday rally in downtown Beirut.

"It is the beginning of the hunger revolution in Lebanon," he said, vowing to keep the strike going as long as necessary.

The head of the Association of Private Schools Teachers, Nehme Mahfoud, called on President Michel Sleiman to convene a special Cabinet meeting to address the issue.

But Finance Minister Mohammad Safadi had already said early in the week that the wage issue was not on the agenda for a Cabinet meeting scheduled for Wednesday.

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