BEIRUT, Oct. 3 (Xinhua) -- Lebanon's General Labor Union Head Bechara Asmar urged Wednesday Lebanese companies to hire local workers instead of replacing them with foreigners, local media reported.
"The country is going through a very difficult economic situation and businesses are firing employees. We should help each other in these dire circumstances and protect local employees from arbitrary dismissal," Asmar was quoted by Elnashra, an independent online newspaper, as saying.
Asmar also urged Lebanese companies not to hire new foreigner employees instead of Lebanese.
Since the start of the civil war in neighboring Syria, thousands of Syrian refugees moved to Lebanon prompting Lebanese businesses to replace local employees with Syrians.
Hiring Syrians cost less both in salaries and in national social security compared with local employees, which led to an increase in unemployment rate among Lebanese.
Ola Boutros, advisor to the Foreign Affairs Minister in charge of the Syrian refugees' dossier, said over a month ago around 270,000 Lebanese have lost their jobs after 384,000 Syrian refugees poured into the country's employment market.
"Around 150,000 of those who lost their jobs used to work in the services sector," she said.
The labor ministry issued in January 2017 an order allowing Syrians in Lebanon to work only in farming, cleaning and construction and businesses who violate the law will be immediately closed.