SIDON, Lebanon: The head of the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions’ Lebanon branch resigned Thursday over an unannounced meeting with Lebanon’s Labor Minister Camille Abousleiman earlier this week. Palestinian sources told The Daily Star that Abu Youssef al-Adawi’s resignation appeared to be more like “a dismissal,” amid anger over his decision to meet with Abousleiman Tuesday without informing other Palestinian groups.
Adawi was photographed kissing Abousleiman’s head following their meeting, adding insult to injury when “[the minister] has not retracted his decision related to work permits for Palestinians.”
Palestinians across all 12 of Lebanon’s refugee camps have staged protests over the last two weeks against a Labor Ministry crackdown on foreign labor. The minister has insisted that the operation, which has seen inspectors close down and issue fines to a number of businesses, is simply implementing the existing labor law that requires foreign workers to obtain work permits.
However, Palestinians have argued that the campaign unfairly targets them. Many Palestinians do not possess the requisite documents to obtain a labor permit and, unlike other migrant workers, are refugees and do not have a homeland to return to.
Abousleiman said last week he had taken measures to ease Palestinians’ ability to obtain a work permit and incentivize them to do so, including exempting them from having to hold a work contract with their employer and enroll in social security.
Also Thursday, the labor minister met with Prime Minister Saad Hariri at the Grand Serail to discuss facilitating Palestinians’ ability to obtain a work permit. No new decision emerged from the meeting, except that a team from the ministry would meet next week with Palestinian representatives to discuss the issue.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on July 26, 2019, on page 2.