Lebanon suffers partial blackout as labourers strike

BEIRUT — Several areas across Lebanon, including parts of the capital Beirut, witnessed power cuts on Tuesday as the national electricity company warned of a nationwide blackout following a strike by its employees.

A dispute between Electricity of Lebanon (EDL) and day labourers demanding their tenure led to the company to warn that the entire country could be blacked out.

“The company is obliged to close its doors” due to the “occupation of its headquarters by day labourers,” EDL said in a statement late on Monday.

“This decision will result in an electricity blackout throughout Lebanon in a matter of hours,” EDL warned, calling on citizens, most of whom already have generators, to take “precautionary measures.”

Some areas of Beirut were without power beyond the usual hours of rationing beginning Monday evening and continuing into Tuesday.

An AFP photographer said that striking labourers blocked entrances to the company headquarters on Monday.

They rejected the claims of EDL that their actions had impaired operations at power stations.

The workers insisted the strike was limited to bill collection and that power station employees “continue to work normally.”

Day labourers at the public company have been demanding their tenure for years and have held a sit-in for weeks. Electricity bills have not been collected for at least three months.

EDL warned that the decision to close its doors would remain in effect until the end of the strike, but labourers have refused to budge.

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