Employees of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) in Gaza went on strike on Monday in protest at the agency's lack of response to their demands regarding the recruitment of new employees to fill the vacancies created by those who have retired.
According to the Secretary of the Federation of UNRWA Employees, Amir Al-Mishal, none of the demands require budget increases. "We have carried out several protests, including a partial strike, but nothing has been," he told Arabi21.com. "Many of our demands were made directly to the UNRWA Commissioner General, but still nothing."
Al-Mishal said that all the staff want is for retired employees to be replaced with new ones, and a solution to be found for contract employees. "Two years ago, we agreed with the UNRWA Commissioner that the contract employees should not exceed 7.5 per cent of the total number of employees. Now the figure is 15 per cent in Gaza."
He added that there are 500 vacancies due to the retirement of older employees, and 116 employees were sacked when the US administration suspended its support for the agency. They were later reinstated on a part-time basis and UNRWA promised to sort out their issue. "There are 20 of them still working as part time employees," said Al-Mishal. "We also want to close this file."
In closing, the federation head said that UNRWA employees are planning to escalate their industrial action until they get their voices heard and their demands met.
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