Today marks Labor Day, an annual holiday that celebrates workers around the world. But, while other countries’ laborers celebrate, those in Lebanon are raising their voices in agony.
Lebanon is going through its worst economic crisis yet. Inflation is increasing, the Lebanese pound is disintegrating against the U.S. dollar, and people’s purchasing power is falling as prices soar.
This, added to the pandemic and the prevailing political instability, has made this Labor Day “the worst in tens of years,” Bechara Asmar, the head of the General Labor Union, told Anadolu Agency.
Warning of “a famine that looms on the horizon amid the continued collapse of the state and the economy,” Asmar described the situation of Lebanon’s workers as “catastrophic.”
A recent study indicated that the minimum wage in Lebanon has fallen by around 84% since 2017 with the devaluation of the Lebanese pound.
In light of these circumstances, Asmar also warned of the potential collapse of national social security, which provides workers with health insurance.
This warning is similar to that which the director-general of the National Social Security Fund (NSSF), Mohamad Karaki, issued earlier this month.
Karaki said at the time that the NSSF may be forced to stop providing its services to a third of the Lebanese population if the state fails to pay its dues.
According to Asmar, the ban that Saudi Arabia imposed on Lebanese produce imports last Sunday has exacerbated the situation. He said the ban will lead to “a catastrophe in the agriculture sector” that will impact the sector’s workers.