BEIRUT, Jan. 10 (Xinhua) -- Lebanon's public drivers on Thursday held nationwide protests against privatization of the auto inspection sector, while calling for reforming the public transport sector.
"We do not care if this government is a caretaker government. We want our demands to be respected or else we will take escalating measures by next Thursday," said Bassam Tleis, head of the Union of Public Drivers, was quoted by the National News Agency as saying.
Unions representing Lebanon's public transportation drivers have on many occasions voiced their opposition to the privatization of the auto inspection centers and the increase in the cost of auto inspections.
Lebanese company Autospect was awarded over two years ago a contract to manage the centers in collaboration with Swiss company SGS, saying they would offer new and improved services.
Auto inspection fees would increase by 65 percent, from 20 U.S. dollars to 33 dollars.
Tleis previously called on the government to take control of the auto inspection centers and to keep current employees while protecting their rights.
The drivers' demands also included the need by the government to track cars with forged plates in addition to stopping foreign drivers from operating and competing with local drivers.
Public drivers also want the transport minister to allow public drivers to enter and work at the airport under the supervision of security forces.