Beirut – Several protests in different Lebanese areas have taken place against the Syrian competition in the market place.
The protests come in the wake of the recent campaign launched by the Lebanese Labor Ministry to organize foreign employment in the country. Not to mention the several objections from people suffering from the chaotic spread of Syrians as traders or owners of shops without permits, which they make profit of without having to pay taxes to the Lebanese government.
After the protests in Tripoli, north Lebanon, Jbeil and Mount Lebanon, other demonstrations began in Beirut’s southern suburb against this chaos.
On Monday, a group of female laborers blocked off the road in a neighborhood in the southern suburb of Beirut, Jammal Market, in protest against Syrian foreign competition in the district.
Protesters held signs complaining of the unfair work conditions, particularly in the area, which is affecting the locals. The women threatened to take escalatory measures if the authorities didn’t respond to their demands.
A local merchant claimed that Syrian merchants have opened stores and are selling their products at low prices, since they don’t have to pay taxes that the Lebanese have to. He asked the authorities to put an end to this, which could be harmful for the Lebanese economy.
A source at the Lebanese Ministry of Labor informed Asharq Al-Awsat that the ministry is pushing for stricter inspections and regulations on Syrian laborers, warning that the high influx of foreign workers could jeopardize the Lebanese population’s rate of employment.
He added that the new regulations will also include Lebanese businessmen who hire Syrian employees instead of Lebanese.
Since foreign workers tend to accept lower wages than Lebanese laborers, local and international businesses have preferred them to Lebanese labor, according to former Labor Minister Sejaan Azzi.
The ministry had informed the owners of shops with no permits to regulate their papers, but none reported because they lacked identity papers.