Education International
Education International

Lebanon: LPESPL, driving force against cuts in health care provision for teachers and state employees

published 27 February 2009 updated 27 February 2009

On 1 January 2009 the contract between the Lebanese government and private hospitals to provide medical services to teachers and state employees expired. As of this date private hospitals refused to provide medical treatment to their previous patients even in crucial cases where immediate help was needed, i.e. kidney dialysis and cancer patients. The government decided not to renew the contract due to its increasing national debts – a decision that affects more than 300.000 teachers and state employees.

EI’s affiliate, the Ligue des Professeurs de l’Enseignement Secondaire Public du Liban, LPESPL, has been in the forefront to fight against these measures that undermine severely the health and social rights of its members and all state employees. In a press conference that was held on 10 February, LPESPL firmly condemned the government’s refusal to renew the contract. An LPESPL committee member who recently had an accident at the premises of her school said that “it is a pity that a public employee is undermined and denied of his very basic rights and treated rather like a number, rejected by the hospitals and ignored by its government”.

The government responded to the protests by proposing to renew the contract with private hospitals however with a lesser degree of insurance. LPESPL along with other public teachers and state employees rejected the government’s proposal. They will continue to refuse any solution that entails additional financial burdens for public employees who are already struggling to meet the increasing cost of living with a very humble salary.

The next steps of this struggle will be decided gradually. A warning strike and demonstrations are planned for 12 March 2009.