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UNRWA employees in Gaza on strike

April 13, 2011 3:28 P.M. (Updated: April 14, 2011 12:09 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- An estimated 11,500 employees of UNRWA's Gaza Strip sub-offices went on strike Wednesday morning, protesting the dismissal of a group of workers, and demanding permanent contracts for staff.

Certain employees of UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, currently renew a one-year contract annually, and when a group of workers lost their jobs at the end of their contract, union officials threatened to strike.

"We have already warned of the dangerous repercussions of this policy of dismissal and lack of employment security, and we sent a clear message that we would not accept this mistreatment of employees,” said Suheil Al-Hindi, head of the union.

The union called the strike for Wednesday, pulling teachers, doctors, maintenance staff, and security personnel from their posts, and keeping an estimated 220,000 students out of class.

Al-Hindi said the one-year contract process was not "transparent," and called on the Gaza government to help ensure UNRWA maintained an appropriate work policy.
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