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On International Workers’ Day, Gaza’s workers live in ‘disastrous’ conditions

The Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU) called on Sunday for the Palestinian Authority (PA) to be responsible for workers in Gaza. The federation noted that workers in the besieged enclave live in “disastrous” conditions, MEMO’s correspondent has reported.

During a protest organised to mark Workers’ Day in Gaza, the PGFTU also warned of a “humanitarian explosion” should the international community not put pressure on the Israeli occupation to lift the ten-year-old siege on the Palestinian territory. The workers renewed their call for the Palestinian Legislative Council to approve a minimum wage in response to the poor economic situation. They also called on the Egyptian government to open the Rafah Crossing for the movement of people and goods.

The workers’ situation, they insisted, would be helped by Palestinian political unity and by UNRWA bearing its responsibilities. They urged the UN agency not to cancel its urgent assistance programmes.

According to the PGFTU, unemployment in Gaza has reached 60 per cent, with 70 per cent of the population living in poverty. In 2011, the federation pointed out, no more than 50,000 people were unemployed; last year, it said, was the worst so far for Palestinian workers in Gaza.

The PGFTU noted that up to 80 per cent of Gaza’s factories have stopped working due to the Israeli siege. Around 70,000 workers in the construction sector have lost work due to the Israeli ban on cement imports. The federation blamed the Palestinian officials in Gaza and the occupied West Bank for the workers’ suffering and accused them of overlooking their dire living conditions.

Images by MEMO Photographer Mohammed Asad.

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