Middle East Monitor / April 10, 2023
The UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA)’s Gaza staff yesterday carried out a complete strike that paralysed all institutions, pledging to take additional measures if the agency did not meet their demands.
Health clinics closed, some 50,000 school students did not go to their schools and rubbish piled up in the streets.
The strike was preceded by a go slow action carried out last month, and this full-day strike was carried out because there had been no progress with UNRWA.
UNRWA claims it has been suffering from a very large budget deficit, the Gaza UNRWA staff union said, due to donation shortages.
Amir al-Mishal, head of UNRWA’s Palestinian employees, stressed that the comprehensive strike is an extension of the industrial action started in November when the staff union proposed a package of demands and were given an assurance that they would be met by the start of this year.
Al-Mishal said that several issues were resolved, including the appointment of 200 teachers this month and 250 more at the beginning of next year.
However, there are many outstanding issues between the staff union and UNRWA’s administration, including the contracts of 60 sanitation workers under the age of 60 who have been working for 12 years without rights.
Al-Mishal said that UNRWA’s High Commissioner has agreed to add $8 million to the budget, but the current Regional Director has not yet fulfilled the agreement.