Lebanon hikes minimum wages by 40%
BEIRUT - Lebanon's cabinet has increased the minimum wage by 40 percent to 700,000 pounds (467 dollars, 345 euros) in a last-minute bid to avert a nationwide strike that had been planned for Wednesday.
After more than seven hours of talks that ended shortly after midnight, Information Minister Walid Daouk announced a hike of 200,000 pounds for monthly wages under one million pounds. The measure raised the minimum wage from 500,000 pounds to 700,000 pounds.
The government also ordered a wage increase of 300,000 pounds on all salaries between one and 1.8 million pounds.
Ghassan Ghosn, head of the General Labour Confederation, said on Wednesday that while the strike had been suspended, the wage increase remained unsatisfactory.
Wages have twice been increased in Lebanon since the end of the 1975-1990 civil war, most recently in 2008.
Lebanon witnessed record growth rates in recent years but projections for 2011 have dropped following a protracted government crisis earlier this year and amid political unrest in neighbouring Syria.