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UNRWA employees planning strike over salaries, staff shortages

Sept. 29, 2016 6:42 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 30, 2016 2:38 P.M.)
GAZA (Ma’an) -- The union of workers for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) announced on Thursday that they were planning a one-day strike in the Gaza Strip and the occupied West Bank to protest cuts to aid and services.

The announcement comes less than two weeks after the union staged a temporary strike in the occupied Palestinian territory, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan to protest abnormally low salaries and severe staff shortages.

“There have been ongoing discussions with the UN local administration in Gaza Strip regarding the issues, but they didn’t lead to any results,” union spokesman Suheil al-Hindi told Ma’an, leading the union to decide to stage a strike on Wednesday.

Al-Hindi also claimed that the United Nations had turned down all of the union’s demands regarding wages, early retirement, and employee classification during its General Assembly in New York City one week earlier.

Al-Hindi said that if the UN didn’t respond to the employees’ demands, an open strike would take place in all UNRWA facilities.

A spokesperson for UNRWA did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the planned strike.

Al-Hindi once again accused the UNRWA administration of not filling in nearly 500 vacant teaching positions at UNRWA schools, claiming the UN agency was doing so to as a cost-cutting measure.
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