Public Sector Strike Leaves Lebanese Newborns without Registration

A Lebanese protester holds a sign as fuel tankers block a road in Beirut during a general strike by public transport and workers' unions over the country's economic crisis [File: Anwar Amro/AFP]
A Lebanese protester holds a sign as fuel tankers block a road in Beirut during a general strike by public transport and workers' unions over the country's economic crisis [File: Anwar Amro/AFP]
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Public Sector Strike Leaves Lebanese Newborns without Registration

A Lebanese protester holds a sign as fuel tankers block a road in Beirut during a general strike by public transport and workers' unions over the country's economic crisis [File: Anwar Amro/AFP]
A Lebanese protester holds a sign as fuel tankers block a road in Beirut during a general strike by public transport and workers' unions over the country's economic crisis [File: Anwar Amro/AFP]

As thousands of public sector workers continue their strike in Lebanon, hundreds of the country’s newborns are being left undocumented.

In Lebanon, civil workers have been on strike for more than a month and a half, exacerbating the crises experienced by the Lebanese on different levels.

Because of the walkout, the Lebanese can’t obtain their documents to apply for travel visas and they are also unable to complete the process of buying and selling a car.

Moreover, the work stoppage obstructs the entry of goods into Lebanon through the Beirut port, which threatens food security.

Since June 13, about 30,000 public workers have been carrying out an open strike to demand a correction of public sector salaries and an increase in the value of social benefits.

The direct daily losses caused by the strike amount to about 12 billion Lebanese pounds, or about $400,000, according to the Minister of Labor in the caretaker government, Mustafa Bayram.

Despite attempts to reach a settlement with the employees, many of them refuse returning to their duty stations.

This reflected badly on families trying to register their newborns.

Not only are newborns going unregistered, but also most, if not all, transactions of the civil services departments and others have come to a screeching halt.

The director of the Association of Public Administration Employees, Nawal Nasr, stated that the strike will continue until a fair and equitable result has been reached for the workers, including family support, medical subsidies and education.

The severe devaluation of the Lebanese lira – since 2019, the monthly minimum wage has sunk from the equivalent of $450 to $23– is also what motivates the workers to strike.



Egypt Needs to Import $1.18 Billion in Fuel to End Power Cuts, PM Says

The moon is seen after the day of Strawberry Moon over old houses in Cairo, Egypt, June 22, 2024. (Reuters)
The moon is seen after the day of Strawberry Moon over old houses in Cairo, Egypt, June 22, 2024. (Reuters)
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Egypt Needs to Import $1.18 Billion in Fuel to End Power Cuts, PM Says

The moon is seen after the day of Strawberry Moon over old houses in Cairo, Egypt, June 22, 2024. (Reuters)
The moon is seen after the day of Strawberry Moon over old houses in Cairo, Egypt, June 22, 2024. (Reuters)

Egypt needs to import around $1.18 billion worth of mazut fuel oil and natural gas to end persistent power cuts exacerbated by consecutive heat waves, its Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly said in a televised address on Tuesday.

It hopes the shipments will arrive in full around the third week of July, by which point the government aims to stop cutting power during the remaining summer months, he added.

It has already started contracting for 300,000 tons of mazut worth $180 million to boost its strategic reserves which are expected to arrive early next week.

Egypt's government on Monday extended daily power cuts to three hours from two hours previously in response to a surge in domestic electricity consumption during the latest heat wave.

These three-hour cuts will continue until the end of June, before returning to two hours in the first half of July with the aim of stopping completely for the rest of the summer, Madbouly said on Tuesday.

Egyptian social media has lit up with complaints about the impact of the blackouts, with some saying they have been forced to purchase private power generators.

The problem has particularly affected teenagers preparing for the crucial high school certificate, with some posting about students studying by candlelight and others in coffee shops.

A wedding hall owner in the coastal city of Port Said said he would turn one of his ballrooms into a study hall.

Since July last year, load shedding linked to falling gas production, rising demand and a shortage of foreign currency has led to scheduled two-hour daily power cuts in most areas.

"We had said that we planned to end load shedding by the end of 2024... we do not have a power generation problem or a network problem, we are unable to provide fuel," Madbouly said on Tuesday.

"With the increase in consumption related to the major development and population increase, there has been a lot of pressure on our dollar resources," he added.

He said production in a neighboring country's gas field had come to a full halt for 12 hours leading to an interruption in the supply, without naming the country or the gas field.

Egypt's Abu Qir Fertilizers said on Tuesday three of its plants had halted production because their supply of natural gas was cut.