Working conditions, minimum standards and employer-provided protections

Case study research into Lebanese and non-Lebanese informal workers in the food and beverage industry in central Bekaa, Minieh and Akkar

Summary:

Many studies have investigated the crisis in livelihood, a crucial factor for the wellbeing and dignity of displaced and refugee populations, and the lack of legal protection to which Syrian workers are subjected, especially in light of Lebanon’s crisis response plan.

This research intends to shed light on another angle to this issue, by focusing on protection-related questions within the food and beverage (F&B) industry, an increasingly informal sector due to worsening socio-economic conditions. According to the International Labor Organization, informality in the labour market is defined, “among other things, by the absence of explicit and registered work contracts and/or the absence of social security coverage for workers on the job".

The geographic scope of this research is the Bekaa and Akkar, economically underdeveloped regions that host the two largest Syrian settlements in Lebanon at 35.7% and 25.8% respectively. The study examines the employer’s role in the protection of vulnerable workers, whether Lebanese or Syrian, and relies on data collected from a survey in those two areas.

The survey encompasses 200 interviews with employees within the F&B sector (102 from Akkar and 98 from the Bekaa) generating information on the respondents’ formal status, working conditions and potential grievances. The study also relies on focus groups with local business employers in both areas.