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Union chief: Delays in PA salaries 'unacceptable'

July 4, 2012 3:13 P.M. (Updated: July 14, 2012 11:09 A.M.)
RAMALAH (Ma'an) -- Delays in Palestinian Authority employees salaries are unacceptable and government workers' concerns must not be ignored, a union chief said Tuesday.

Government employees union director Bassam Zakarneh called on the Palestinian Authority to update workers on the situation and ensure banks, electricity and water companies made concessions for late payments.

The Palestinian Authority labor minister said Saturday that due to the government's worsening financial crisis, public sector salaries would not be paid on time in July.

Zakarneh said in a statement that the union had not been officially informed wages would be late.

If the PA delays salaries without coordination, then the union also has the right to reduce employees' working hours without coordination with the PA, Zakarneh said.

"We don't hope for that," Zakarneh said, adding that the union would wait for the government to invite the union to discuss the issue.

"We know that the PA has been going through a tough time since its establishment and that the finance minister didn't come up with any new ideas about this matter."

If the government had reached its borrowing limit, employees reached their limit months ago, the union official said. "We shouldn't take into account the government's deficit and ignore the deficit of the employee."

"Is the government's role limited to announcing delaying the salaries without giving an explanation or solutions for employees?" he added.

Israeli and Palestinian officials told Reuters on Monday that Israel had sought a $1 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund for the Palestinian Authority to prevent its financial collapse.

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz said the IMF turned down the request because it did not want to set a precedent of one state getting a loan on behalf of a non-state body.

Palestinian Authority security forces are among those whose salaries will be delayed. They provide valued cooperation with Israel under the terms of the Oslo Accords.
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