Gaza public sector workers call strike

Gaza public sector workers call strike
Tens of thousands of Gaza's public sector workers have been without pay for nearly a year. With no solution in sight, union leaders have called a strike.
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Emergency services called a strike in February about the non-payment of salaries [Anadolu]

Civil servants at three ministries in the Gaza Strip have called a strike to protest against the non-payment of salaries.

Tens of thousands of employees at the justice, public works and housing, and women's affairs ministries responded to a call to strike on Thursday.

A Fatah-Hamas unity government has not paid the wages of employees of the former Hamas government in Gaza since June 2014.

Mohammad Siyam, head of the public workers' union, said that the aim of the strike was to put pressure on the unity government to pay the overdue salaries.

"How does the unity government want to operate in Gaza without acknowledging the legitimacy of employees who have worked for years in spite of many challenges?" asked Siyam.

He said that if the government does not respond, then the strikes will spread to other government ministries and bodies by Tuesday.

The union chief also wants the employees to be integrated into the Palestinian Authority's administration to guarantee the regular payment of salaries.

Following the split of the Palestinian government between Hamas and Fatah in 2007, the Islamist government in Gaza has run its own civil service with around 50,000 people.

Last October, the unity government's ministry of social affairs gave 24,000 former Hamas civil servants $1,200 each, excluding interior ministry workers, thanks to a donation from Qatar.

Now the 45,000 former Hamas government employees want their salaries to be paid directly by the ministry of finance.

This article is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.