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Gaza govt institutions on strike to protest salary delay

June 26, 2014 4:51 P.M. (Updated: June 26, 2014 10:34 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Ministries and public institutions in the Gaza Strip declared a general strike on Thursday in protest against not receiving their salaries.

The director of the Gaza public employees union, Muhammad Siyam, highlighted that all public institutions went on strike, with the exception of health workers, who will treat emergency cases.

Both the Ministry of Education and the Public Workers' Union declared their full support for the strike action.

"It is not about the salary itself, but rather about recognition of the legal status of Gaza employees," Siyam said.

The salary crisis will have "disastrous" impacts on about 50,000 Gaza families if it continues, Siyam said, adding that he holds President Abbas and Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah responsible for their welfare.

The banking crisis started in early June when Hamas employees of the former Gaza government were angered to find out they had not been paid, with Hamas-affiliated police officers preventing PA employees from collecting their wages.

Employees of the previous government see it as Ramallah's responsibility to pay their salaries, but the new unity government says no such agreement was ever made with Hamas.

A Palestinian national consensus government was sworn in on June 2, as Hamas ceded power after nearly seven years of ruling Gaza.

Many issues involving the Strip, such as the fate of former employees of the Hamas government, have yet to be addressed by the new unity government.

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