Lebanon's labor force revolts

The march from CGTL to Riad El-Soloh, with some protesters carrying pots for some music and brooms to “clean and wipe out the system," showed that the Lebanese labor force will not leave the ground until they get what they have been fighting for all this time.
by Joelle Al Cheikh and Elissa Hassan

16 November 2019 | 21:06

Source: by Annahar

Photo taken during Saturday's labor force protest. (Annahar Photo).

BEIRUT: The Lebanese Revolution has brought together hundreds of thousands of people from different ages, religions, sects, classes, and professions. Saturday marks the 31st day of this uprising, and one of the other days that the university professors, journalists, and all kinds of people from various professions decide to protest in front of the General Confederation of Lebanese Workers (CGTL) for a change.

The first and foremost aim of all trade unions and associations is to defend the legal, economic, and social rights of the people it represents. Founded in 1958, the CGTL is supposed to represent the rights of all the Lebanese working population, in public and private sectors, as well as listen and adhere to their demands. But, due to the constant government interference, the CGTL has failed to accommodate, let alone listen, to the demands of the labor force.

“As teachers, we demand job security as well as have an academic field that is not being pressured by sectarianism and discrimination of all kinds. We are also here to fight for our students’ rights to get employed once they graduate," Rana Issa, a professor at the American University of Beirut, told Annahar.

As a collective protest, the people asked for the series of salaries and degrees, environmental solutions for the on-going garbage crisis, and the take down of the corrupt and quota-based regime. Seeing that almost none of these demands have been met over the past couple of years, the people believe that the CGTL has become nothing but a hollow structure representing less than 5% of the labor force, and now, more than ever, is the time to raise their concerns.

“The reason I am here today is because I was robbed. I was robbed of my rights, and so have all these people here. All the workers, the teachers, and all the public servants are here building an independent and democratic trade union movement on the ruins of the General Confederation of Lebanese Workers,” a journalist, who wished to remain anonymous, said.

The Lebanese revolution, in its 31 days, has managed to give people the power and the strength to fight for what they deserve. The march from CGTL to Riad El-Soloh, with some protesters carrying pots for some music and brooms to “clean and wipe out the system," showed that the Lebanese labor force will not leave the ground until they get what they have been fighting for all this time.

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