The Association of Beirut Port Contractors announced on Friday that its members will stop working next week.
The Association made the announcement in a letter to Bassem Al-Qaisi, Director-General of the Port Administration and Investment, in which it has set Monday, March 22nd, as the day its members will stop going to work.
It cited the U.S. dollar exchange rate at which the contractors have been getting paid for operating their vehicles (1,500 LBP/USD), “which is not commensurate with the cost of maintenance nor with the price of spare parts that are paid in cash in U.S. dollars.”
The Association said the decision follows the numerous failed requests that the contractors had made to the Beirut Port Administration and to caretaker Public Works Minister Michel Najjar in order to raise the exchange rate.
The letter pointed out that “the actual [black-market] price of the dollar has exceeded ten thousand Lebanese pounds” and noted “the absence of compensation for the vehicles that were destroyed by the explosion on August 4.”
The contractors will refrain from working until their demands are met, they wrote in the letter, “because we no longer have any ability to continue in light of the current circumstances and all that we have mentioned above.”