Palestine government signs deals to end unions’ strikes

Middle East Monitor  /  March 9, 2023

The Palestinian government signed, on Thursday, agreements with a number of trade unions to end disputes that led to weeks of strikes across the Palestinian Territories, Anadolu News Agency reported.

The Palestinian cabinet held an extraordinary session to sign agreements with the Teachers Union, Syndicates of Journalists, Engineers, Health Professions and Physicians.

Prime Minister, Muhammad Shtayyeh, said in a televised speech that the signed agreements present most of the demands put forward by the unions, stressing his government’s commitment to implementing them.

He added that the signing comes despite the financial crisis suffered by the government, explaining that “to implement these demands, the government will have to borrow from local banks”.

The unions are calling for salary increases in light of the escalating inflation crisis in the local market, since the beginning of 2022.

Last Monday, the Teachers Union announced an open strike across all public schools in the West Bank and Jerusalem.

Since November 2021, the Palestinian government has paid incomplete salaries to public sector employees after Israel’s deduction of funds from the tax revenues it collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority and the decline in external international support.

Israel deducted about 50 million shekels ($14.5 million) per month from Palestinian tax revenues, which has recently increased to more than 60 million ($17.5 million) per month.

Israel says the amount is equivalent to what the Palestinian Authority pays monthly to the families of prisoners and martyrs as social aid.