Rafik Hariri Hospital Employees Just Declared an Open Strike

Lauren Holtmeier /Al Arabiya English

Rafik Hariri University Hospital (RHUH) has been under the main spotlight of the news since the onset of the outbreak in Lebanon.

It has been the leading medical response against the epidemic and a reference point to both the reports and the other hospitals sending cases to its quarantine facilities and care.

The hospital and its staff have been the main heroes of this fight against the COVID-19 since the beginning, and they include the med students of the Lebanese University who have joined in, serving at RHUH.

However, in spite of all that tremendous work at the heart of the battle, the hospital has been under another hardship and for a long while now: a lack of due attention from the government.

RHUH has been suffering from outdated equipment and unpaid employees and this is not the first time they issue an outcry.

Now, again, the committee of the employees and contract workers have decided to go on an open strike, starting Thursday, March 12th.

The WHO has declared the virus a pandemic and the number of Lebanon’s cases are growing quickly, especially these past days, with some 61 cases and 2 deaths so far.

Needless to say that the Lebanese are scared and thousands have rushed to supermarkets to stock for isolation.

MTV News reported that the committee stated that this strike was declared based on “all the threats, difficulties, and hard circumstances that the hospital’s workers are going through.”

The statement blames “the indifference that has become evident by management and stakeholders,” as the main cause for the decision to strike.

The hospital will hold a press conference on Thursday at 9:00 am to explain the situation and daily suffering of the employees during this period.  

The committee’s decision, according to Naharnet, is related to wages and recompenses. The open strike declaration comes at a time when Lebanon is at a turning point with the coronavirus outbreak.

Up to this point, the Lebanese government has taken limited measures, from closing restaurants, nightclubs, pubs, sports centers, and limiting unnecessary gatherings.

The Lebanese Prime Minister, Hassan Diab, announced in a press conference held on Wednesday the halt of all flights to and from Iran, Italy, South Korea, and China, with a 4-day deadline for Lebanese nationals and diplomats in these countries to make it back home.