Members of the Union of Arab Employees of the UN’s Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) have gone on general strike in UN-affiliated institutions across the Gaza Strip from Sunday. Over the past few weeks, the union has protested against what have been described as UNRWA’s attempts “to escape” from the agency’s agreements and promises to improve its Palestinian employees’ living and financial conditions.
The union said in a brief statement on Saturday that a press conference will be held during the strike in front of UNRWA’s headquarters in Gaza and in the presence of leaders of the Palestinian factions. It calls upon the international agency to recognise local employees’ eligibility for salary increases to accommodate the increasing cost of living in the beleaguered territory. Union chiefs are also calling on UNRWA to back down on a decision to dismiss 94 engineers and from transferring its development programmes to private companies, which would cause 50-60 employees to lose their jobs.