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West Bank teachers, civil servants on strike this week

Jan. 14, 2013 3:45 A.M. (Updated: Jan. 17, 2013 9:22 A.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Civil servants and public school teachers will go on strike this Wednesday and Thursday, union representatives said Monday.

Public sector staff will also hold a sit-in at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, in front of the office of the Palestinian Legislative Council in Ramallah, civil servants' union chief Bassam Zakarneh said.

Local sit-in strikes will also be staged at governors' offices in all West Bank districts, he said.

Secretary general of the teachers’ union Muhammad Suwwan said teachers and school employees were joining the wider strike on Wednesday and Thursday.

Zakarneh called on the Palestinian Authority to pay at least part of December salaries, rather than spending money on the remainder of November salaries.

Employees received a salary payment for November capped at 2,000 shekels. This covers most of government staff and paying the remainder will only benefit the top-earners, Zakarneh said.

The Western-backed PA has struggled with falling international donations and domestic revenues, and has had to delay payments to its 153,000 public sector workers several times this year.

Since early December, Israel has withheld around $100 million in monthly tax revenue it collects on behalf of the PA as punishment for the UN's acceptance of Palestine as a non-member state.
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