What do you think about Decreasing Prices in Lebanon?
Merchants and employees expressed displeasure Wednesday with the Cabinet’s decision to raise salaries, arguing that authorities should have instead addressed soaring prices in the country.
Many who were interviewed by The Daily Star complained that shops, companies and schools have already increased the prices of their services and commodities in anticipation of the raise, making the move useless.
A clerk who works in a clothing shop in the Mar Elias neighborhood of Beirut argued that while some employees will receive an increase of LL200,000 in their salaries, they will end up paying much more, given the continuous increases in prices.
“All this is empty talk, they should first reduce the prices of commodities,” he told The Daily Star Wednesday. “This will make life easier for employees as well as shop owners.”
The same view was echoed by Ghassan Haboubaty, who advised that the government curb soaring prices and offer soft credit facilities for young people to buy homes.
“An additional LL200,000 will not make it easier for me to marry and buy a house,” explained Haboubaty.
Following marathon discussions between representatives of the private sector, the General Labor Confederation and government officials, the Cabinet agreed to increase the minimum wage to LL700,000 ($466) from the current LL500,000. The government also agreed to increase by LL200,000 the wages of those earning less than LL1 million, and by LL300,000 those who earn between LL1 million and LL1.8 million. The agreement also included raising the daily transportation allowance to LL10,000 from LL8,000, while the education allowance for children jumped to a maximum of LL1.5 million.
The deal averted a general strike which was originally planned by the GLC for Wednesday.
For a woman who works in a perfume shop at Hamra Street, the salary raise was “unfair.”
“Why did we get a lower raise than those whose salaries range between LL1 million and LL1.8 million?” the perfume shop worker asked.
“At the same time, we will not benefit from it [the raise] because the prices of commodities will go up,” she added.
Mahmoud Fakih, an employee, said workers would be happy to have the same salaries but see a drop in prices.
“A LL200,000 or a LL300,000 raise does not compensate for the increase in the prices of food, medical services and tuition fees.”
Discontent was also voiced by merchants, who wondered how they could pay their employees a salary raise amid slowing business.
Sana Abu Karroum, who manages a jewelry shop, said it was difficult for the store’s owner adapt to the wage hike because the shop is already experiencing a low turnover.
“The employer cannot afford to raise salaries, but the employee will never understand this,” she said, expecting that some shops will close down as a result of this policy.
“If I have three employees, I will lay off one, following this raise,” said the owner of a clothing shop. “How can I afford paying a raise?”
Source: The Daily Star
(The Daily Star :: Lebanon News :: http://www.dailystar.com.lb)