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Palestinian trade unions divided over strike action

Sept. 16, 2012 7:11 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 18, 2012 10:47 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Palestinian trade unions are divided over whether to continue strike action in protest against rising living costs, unionists said Sunday.

Transport union leader Nasser Younis told Ma'an that strike action was not a goal in itself but a means to pressure the Palestinian Authority to listen to their demands.

Following a meeting with the PA Minister of Transport Ali Zeidan, Younis said that the union will suspend all strike action until negotiations come to an end, quashing rumors that strikes were planned over the next few days.

Meanwhile, head of the government employees union Bassam Zakarneh said Sunday that employees will undertake strike action over the coming week.

On Tuesday, all workers will leave their offices at 2 p.m. and on Thursday employees will stop working at 1 p.m.

A meeting will be held on September 23 to discuss further potential strike action, Zakarneh said.

The union of Palestinian teachers also announced that classes in West Bank schools will be suspended after the third lesson on Monday.

"The union will start talks with the government to reach an agreement this week," Muhammad Suwwan, secretary-general of the federation of teachers, said.

The teachers union has been demanding change over several core issues, such as salary increases and the reduction of prices on basic commodities.

Frustrated by rising prices and high levels of unemployment, Palestinians took to the streets last week to protest the dire economic outlook.
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