Lebanon’s Bakeries Just Declared An Open Strike

With the increasing costs of resources and the decreasing value of the Lebanese currency, it is inevitable that we will see an increase in prices and a sharp decrease in wages.

The price of bread, however, has remained stable as it is currently valued at 1,500LL per bag, or 1,000LL if you live in Tripoli.

However, there is fear that the price of bread may also increase in price and so the Union of Bakery Owners announced that they are going on an open-ended strike on February 24th.

They are calling for the government to keep the subsidy on wheat so that the price of bread remains stable.

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“There’s a great burden. We have to pay in dollars and in cash for the maintenance of our equipment, in addition to taxes for the public administration,” said Kazem Ibrahim, the head of the Union of Bakery Owners, to Ashraq Al-Awsat. 

He also added that the problem is “related to the cost of all the ingredients of bread-making, in addition to the taxes that are paid fully in dollars.”

Bakeries buy their resources such as flour, wheat, and fuel using dollars and sell customers in Lebanese pounds. This can result in them losing money if they continue to sell bread at the current price.

The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban

Wages have also been declining as people are unable to receive their salaries in dollars and have to instead receive them in Lebanese pounds that are still exchanged at the banks using the official exchange rate.

Ever since October, the prices of items have increased dramatically. On February 21st, Lebanon’s Consumer Protection Association revealed that prices have risen by 45.6% between October 2019 and February 2020.

“The purchasing power of the Lebanese is falling rapidly. The monthly minimum wage fell from $450 to about $267,” they said, while also noting that 40% of Lebanese people live below the poverty line.

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