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General drivers' strike in occupied West Bank

General drivers' strike in occupied West BankSeveral groups of drivers have launched a general strike in the occupied West Bank in protest at the Palestinian Authority ignoring their demands for change. The strike has paralysed normal life across the occupied territory.

Although local people say that they have been affected badly by the strike, they agree that it is necessary. "It is a strike against price hikes," said the General Transportation Union, one of the main unions taking part; the others are the Union of Taxi Drivers, Union of Lorry Drivers and the unions of two related professions.

The head of the GTU, Ibraheem Awadallah, said that the strike is a protest against "the massive price hikes represented by the increase of taxes, fuel prices, insurance and parking fees."

He pointed out that the drivers' demands were included in a document signed by all unions with the government to reduce prices. "But the government ignored these demands," he said, "and even suspended talks with us ten days ago."

The Minister of Work in the Ramallah PA, Ahmed Al-Majdalani, said that the government will communicate with the unions next week. "We will start from the point we stopped at in the past," he told journalists. Mr. Al-Majdalani does not expect fuel prices to drop further as they have been "reduced" three times since last September.

The West Bank witnessed a massive wave of protests three months ago which began with a drivers' strike which lasted for weeks. The protests ended when PA President Mahmoud Abbas pledged to meet the protesters' demands.


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