Strike by the state-run internet provider in Lebanon is expected to last until next week

A days-long strike by employees at Lebanon’s state-owned internet provider, which has caused service disruptions across the country, is expected to continue into next week.

Ogero employee representatives are in talks with the Telecom Department, demanding better salaries during an economic meltdown that has seen the dollar value of wages plummet. The strike began on Tuesday.

“We agreed it will take a little time to sort things out, meaning it probably won’t be until the middle of next week,” Acting Telecoms Secretary Johnny Corm said The National after a three and a half hour meeting with the Ogero employee advocacy group.

“I don’t think there will be a complete internet failure in the country. But there will be no customer contact, I think.”

According to reports, the mobile networks of the providers Alfa and MTC Touch are affected.

“I think in a way we’re sure that we won’t be separated from the rest of the world. And hopefully the companies will not suffer during this negotiation phase. But I am very confident that should that be the case everything will be sorted out,” Mr Corm said.

Internet outages are expected to affect more parts of the country as Ogero’s private power generators run out of fuel. Ogero chairman Imad Kreidieh said The National that the internet outages would not have been as widespread if more government power had been on the grid.

The state-owned energy supplier Electicite Du Liban supplies electricity for a few hours a day at most.

Ogero has struggled to maintain its infrastructure and afford fuel for its generators in recent years.

Lebanon is in the midst of an economic meltdown that first emerged in 2019 and has been dubbed by the World Bank as one of the worst in modern history. Much of the population has been plunged into poverty, the local currency has lost more than 90 percent of its value and there are widespread shortages of basic necessities.

Inflation is rampant and public sector workers’ salaries – like Ogero’s – have not been adjusted to the new reality.

Many public sector workers have been on strike for almost two months to seek better working conditions.

Updated September 02, 2022 10:09 am

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