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Wednesday, September 10, 2008 Lebanese cabinet approves wage increase

Beirut- The Lebanese cabinet met yesterday and approved the proposed wage increase . Lebanon’s Finance Minister Mohammed Shatah said the government will raise salaries of private and public sector employees by 200,000 Lebanese pounds or US$133 a month.Shatah also said the minimum wage has been raised from 300, 000 Lebanese pounds or US$200 to 500, 000 Lebanese pounds or US$333 a month
Retirement salaries will be raised by 150, 000 Lebanese pounds or US$100 a month.
Shatah said the new wage increase is effective November 1, 2008 but is retroactive to May 1, 2008.

Labor unions have been demanding a higher raise saying that US$133 raise is not enough at a time when consumer prices have risen sharply since the beginning of the year.
Mr Ghosn, the Labor Union president told As Safir newspaper that the Union will call a meeting of its Executive Board to determine its position regarding the minimum wage increase.
Fady Abboud, the president of the Lebanese Industrialists Association told “Voice of Lebanon”: “The general trend in the public sector is not to implement the cabinet resolution regarding the wage increase because it contradicts with international trade agreements signed by Lebanon”
Shatah told the press last night that the new wage increase is bound to increase the Lebanese government debt. Lebanon is one of the most heavily indebted nation based on GNP . Shatah also stated that there will not be a VAT increase in 2009