Safa Jafari Safa, Office of Communications, firstname.lastname@example.org
The AUB administration signed with the Workers and Staff Syndicate a new Collective Labor Contract that caters for the current economic circumstances in Lebanon and increases support to staff.
The signing event was held on June 24, 2021 as part of a biennial tradition to update the existing agreement with work and condition demands from both the Syndicate Council and the AUB administration. Every two years, all members of the syndicate – 3,350 today, almost 90% of all staff – are asked to take part in a voting process on a list of demands and proposals that then undergo a process of negotiations to arrive at a new, amended agreement. The new contract, which is registered at the Ministry of Labor, ensures high congruence between the two entities and a rewarding work environment for all non-academic employees and workers, whether they are members or non-members of the syndicate.
This year, a series of amendments were made, mainly toward increasing the amount of educational scholarships for eligible children of staff in grades 1 to 12, as well as adding the higher amount of LBP 450,000 or 10% of basic salary for all staff, as part of a modified article on the cost of living allowance.
Outside the scope of the Collective Labor Contract, successful negotiations also led to an agreement on a support package for full-time non-academic staff to give them 20% of their annual salary (with a minimum of $3,000 per year) in “fresh" US dollars, as well as an additional 15% to be paid in local dollars in lieu of salary, contingent on the availability of funds.
The new agreement was signed by AUB President Fadlo R. Khuri, President of the Workers and Staff Syndicate George Jurdi, and Secretary of the Workers and Staff Syndicate Abbass Hariri. Present were members of the negotiation committee, all 12 members of the syndicate, and upper administration of both AUB and AUBMC.
President Khuri spoke about the challenges that have been faced by Lebanon and the university and the continued efforts to protect all members of the AUB family.
“I am optimistic that we can create a better future for this country and this region, just by looking at how this university has been functioning over the years," said Khuri. “We invest in people, not at the cost of people, and we have persisted with regional impact throughout."
“It won't be an easy coming few years but I am sure if we continue to work together with loyalty, dedication and excellence, not only the future of AUB but also that of the country and the region will indeed be a much brighter one," he added. “I want to thank the syndicate and thank each person who faithfully works for this university and worked hard to make this agreement happen. I want to particularly thank AUB Vice President for Administration and Chief of Staff Mary Jaber Nachar, who did the impossible in her insistence, throughout her close follow-up with all members of the upper administration, that non-academic employees and workers receive the same benefits as faculty. This is a big day and one of the most critical agreements, because it opens the door for more opportunities and a much better tomorrow for all."
President of the Syndicate George Jurdi in his turn thanked the president and the committee and highlighted the importance of collaboration and continued working toward further support for all staff, in various areas.
“You have always been two steps ahead of us in considering the needs of all staff and making supportive arrangements that forget no one," Jurdi told the president. “AUB has throughout history been the first employer to accommodate for its staff in the face of economic difficulties."
“This institution is a leader that demonstrates how a university can pick up a country," said Jurdi. “At a time when agreements are rare, here we are, through our common dedication to serve AUB, with a solid agreement that guarantees the continuity and strength of this university and the right of its staff for wellbeing and an abundant life. Together, as one family, we will cross this challenging phase. Like you, Mr. President, we are optimistic and look forward to celebrating not only a better AUB, but also a better Lebanon, and a better life for us and for our children."