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Home World News Washington Post World News Internet shutdowns hit Lebanon short of funds due to strike

Internet shutdowns hit Lebanon short of funds due to strike

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BEIRUT – Internet shutdowns rippled through cramped Lebanon on Tuesday after workers at the state-owned telecom company went on strike and demanded higher wages.

It was the latest reflection of one of the world’s worst economic disasters, which has driven three-quarters of Lebanon’s 6 million population into poverty. The Lebanese pound has lost more than 90 percent of its value against the US dollar in three years.

Wages for employees of Ogero and other public sector institutions have not been adjusted to the depreciation of the pound and skyrocketing inflation.

“Unfortunately, there is very little to do at my level,” Ogero chairman Imad Kreidieh told The Associated Press. “Ogero doesn’t have the money to solve the case.”

Kreidieh added that the issue should be resolved by the parliament of Lebanon and the transitional government.

According to Lebanon’s state-run National News Agency, several cities across the country have been closed, including in several neighborhoods of Beirut.

Interim Telecommunications Secretary Johnny Corm did not immediately respond to the AP when asked if the government is working to resolve the internet outages.

Lawmaker Paula Yacoubian told the AP that Parliament’s telecommunications committee will meet next Monday to discuss the issue.

Meanwhile, parliament has yet to approve a state budget for 2022 as the country makes efforts to reform its corrupt and unproductive economy.

Thousands of public sector workers have been on strike for nearly two months, demanding higher wages and transportation benefits.

The Lebanese government agreed in May to increase the prices of internet and phone subscriptions, saying the increases are crucial to the survival of the country’s ailing telecom sector, which struggles to maintain its infrastructure and supply diesel fuel for its economy. pay generators.

Lebanon’s already fragile infrastructure has further deteriorated after the massive explosion in the port of Beirut on August 4, 2020, which killed more than 200 people, injured thousands and destroyed several neighborhoods in the Lebanese capital.

The economic crisis in Lebanon continues to pulverize public life. The poor country is already struggling with rising gasoline, electricity and food prices, as well as rampant power cuts and water shortages. Residents are almost entirely dependent on expensive private subscriptions to diesel generators, as the debt and bloated state electricity company supplies power for no more than about two hours a day.

Over the past two years, Ogero has struggled to maintain its infrastructure, provide fuel for its generators, and prevent copper and metal wire theft. In January, about 26,000 subscribers in Beirut went offline due to a shortage of diesel fuel, including the operating room of the internal security forces.



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