Due to the dollar crisis, migrant employees at Ramco Waste Management have not received their salaries in USD as per their contracts. The government has not paid the Ramco company in USD since November 2019.
According to an IMLebanon article, Ramco’s contract was straight and clear: the Lebanese government was to make the payments in dollars to cover the salaries of the foreign workers and all the imported goods used in the business, as well as the expenses for maintenance.
Migrant workers rely on dollars to send back to their families back home. Getting paid in Lebanese pounds is not an option for them, and their situation is turning dramatic for them.
To put pressure on the company, they protested and closed the company’s doors on May 12th, 2020.
Their frustration led them to trash company property, similar to how Lebanese protesters attack banks and public institutions.
In response, the company’s owners called on Lebanese authorities to handle the situation and break up the protest. Things became ugly before later calming down.
Ramco expects the government to make the payments they agreed on, in dollars or its equivalent in LBP (based on the exchange rate now over 4,000 LBP/1 USD); otherwise, Ramco will be forced to shut down.
The company had provided many migrant workers with jobs that they couldn’t have achieved in their home countries, while still working alongside a community of people they identify with.
The Ramco company and its employees play an important role in keeping Beirut, Metn, and Kesserwan clean. So what will happen now?
Ramco CEO Wassim Ammache told MTV that since the USD is the issue, the best option now is to send the migrant workers back home.
Perhaps new positions will open for Lebanese citizens, many who desperately need the opportunity more than ever.