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Conflict Incident Report

EDL contract workers protest

Date of incident: 
April 24, 2017
Death toll: 
Number of Injured: 
Actors/Parties Involved: 
EDL workers

Electricite du Liban contract workers vowed to escalate protests as Energy Minister Cesar Abi Khalil postponing a meeting with them scheduled.

EDL workers temporarily paused their protest over their employment classification on Monday in anticipation of a meeting with the Energy Minister set for Tuesday morning.

The protesters have demanded full-time, permanent employment.

"The ministry backed down on its agreement with us," one of the protesters said during a demonstration in Mount Lebanon earlier in the day, adding that demonstrators will take action to force the ministry to make them permanent employees.

The protesters had blocked the road leading to the Ministry of Energy on the Emile Lahoud Boulevard in Metn, preventing Energy Minister Cesar Abi Khalil from heading into his office.

They later let him in after he promised to meet with a delegation from the protesters.

However, he refused to meet with them after he entered his office.

Security force deployed heavily in the area as policemen tried to convince protesters to reopen the road leading to the ministry.

Firefighters extinguished burning tires.

Protesters later agreed on a delegation that will meet with Abi Khalil on Tuesday, which the minister later canceled. The protesters had said that they would block the company's entrances if talks are not fruitful.

EDL’s contract workers were hired by three private service providers in 2012 to carry out the state-run energy provider’s services.

The government subsequently promised to permanently hire with full benefits all contractors that passed an entrance exam.

Some 1,400 workers have since passed the test, and none were hired.

The workers have staged a number of strikes and sit-ins in recent years to protest what they view as unjust treatment.

The contract workers had announced over the weekend a series of measures and protests starting Monday and halted work at EDL over the issue.

The workers earlier this month blocked access to the customer service gate during a similar protest at EDL headquarters, warning of escalatory acts.

EDL depends heavily on contract workers to carry out maintenance work and collect electricity bills.

The government has instituted a hiring freeze in a bid to reduce spending in public departments. However, experts warn that the government will eventually be forced to replace the aging staff at EDL.

Primary category: 
Collective Action [inc. protests, solidarity movements...]
Classification of conflict (primary): 
Conflicts of socio-economic development
Conflicts associated with lack of, or gaps in economic development, opportunities and access to resources.
Classification of conflict(secondary):
Policy conflicts
Conflicts associated with political decisions, government or state policies regarding matters of public concern, such as debates concerning law reforms, electoral laws, and protests of the government’s political decisions, among others.