UN Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) has cut 40 per cent of the salaries of its employees, the Safa news agency reported yesterday.
Reporting the head of the organisation’s Employees’ Union Amir Al-Mishal, Safa said that the Union reached an understanding with the UNRWA’s administration last month that it reverses plan to cut the salaries “but we were surprised with the cuts for the second month”.
Al-Mishal stressed that “there is a [covert] police team which spies on the activities organised in solidarity with the employees who are threatened with dismissal.”
The head of the Union said: “This is a dangerous escalation by UNRWA’s leadership.” He pledged there would be escalation in the protests against the organisation’s policies.
In July Palestinians in Gaza protests against UNRWA’s plans to suspend the contracts of around 1,000 employees working in emergency programmes. The workers were to face dismissal by the end of the year, Amal Al-Batsh, deputy head of the UNRWA Staff Union, said.
UNRWA began 2018 with a shortfall of $150 million following a $126 million deficit in 2017, even before the US suspended its planned $125 grant. UNRWA has warned that US cuts will hurt over half a million children; the UN agency runs 700 schools. Some 20,000 teaching jobs are also said to be at risk, with the agency facing the worst financial crisis in its history.