UN's cash-strapped Palestine refugee agency to pay employees soon
Employees at the cash-strapped UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) will be getting paid this month, a senior agency official said on Wednesday.
About 28,000 of the agency's employees will be paid by 10 December, UNRWA media advisor Adnan Abu Hasna told The New Arab.
The agency provides humanitarian aid and support to around 5.6 million Palestinian refugees in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip, running hundreds of clinics and schools.
It has complained for years about a shortage of international funding, axing jobs and warning that it will suspend or reduce its services.
UNRWA staff in Gaza went on a day-long strike Monday to protest the agency's failure to respond to their demands for their salaries, bonuses, and annual leave. They also demanded that casual staff be given permanent or temporary contracts.
Last month, the UNRWA Employees Union demanded management end unpaid special leave, unfreeze salary increases, and ensure the agency maintains a Palestinian refugee staffing rate of 7.5 percent, among other requests.
Management has agreed to meet those three demands, Ameer al-Mishal, head of the UNRWA staff union in Gaza, told The New Arab.
The freeze on the annual salary increase, imposed in April, will be returned retroactively by no later than March 2022, al-Mishal said.
With some of their demands having been met, the union suspended a strike scheduled for Thursday, he said.
However, the union has asked for a joint staff union-management committee for all the countries UNRWA operates in to be formed, to help hash out other points of contention between the two sides. This has yet to be created.