UNRWA employees in Gaza suspend protests
Published Thursday 30/01/2014 (updated) 31/01/2014 20:47
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Employees of the UN agency for Palestine refugees suspended their strike after reaching a framework agreement with the agency's commissioner-general, a union official told Ma'an.
Palestinian UNRWA union chief Suheil al-Hindi told Ma'an that all protests and strike actions were suspended after signing a framework agreement with UNRWA's administration.
Joint committees will be created and tasked with reaching a final agreement on several disputed issues, al-Hindi said without elaborating.
He said that in the meantime, UNRWA's commissioner-general Filippo Grandi pledged that there would be no changes to small fund projects without consulting the Palestinian unions.
An UNRWA spokesperson was unable to be reached for comment.
Grandi said Sunday he was willing to hold constructive negotiations with the Palestinian union once its strike ended.
He said in a letter to Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah that "once the union strike ends, and the services of the agency fully resume in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, the agency's administration will be ready to start negotiations in a constructive way."
Palestinian UNRWA employees have been on strike for over two months in protest of low salaries and UNRWA policies regarding employees who are detained by the Israeli military.
Last Thursday, UNRWA's administration and unions met in an effort to end the strike, which has kept schools closed and severely limited provisions of basic services to Palestinian refugee camps.
UNRWA is the UN agency originally set up in 1949 to ensure relief and development for the Palestinian refugees expelled from what became the State of Israel in 1948.
Today, the agency provides health care, education, social services, and other forms of aid to nearly 5 million Palestinian refugees.