PM brokers deal to end UNRWA strike
Published Thursday 06/02/2014 (updated) 09/02/2014 10:18
NABLUS (Ma'an) -- Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah has brokered an agreement between Palestinian employees of UNRWA and the agency's administration ending a two-month strike.
Officials privy to the details told Ma'an on Thursday that both sides agreed, in principle, to put an end to a strike which has been ongoing for more than two months.
The terms of the agreement were expected to be announced Thursday or Friday.
Farid al-Masmi, spokesman of the union of Palestinian employees in UNRWA, the UN's Palestine refugee agency, confirmed that an agreement was reached to end the 65-day-old strike.
At first, he added, a meeting was held at the prime minister's office, then the participants moved to offices of the Ministry of Labor to "word the details of the agreement which will secure many benefits to employees."
However, an official with knowledge of the proposed deal and who spoke on the condition of anonymity told Ma'an that the deal would not include a pay rise that was demanded by the union.
Palestinian lawmaker Muhammad Laham told Ma'an that he attended the meeting along with the minister of labor Ahmad Majdalani, a number of lawmakers and representatives of popular committees.
Laham confirmed that all unresolved points of disagreement were overcome and a final agreement will be signed in the coming hours. All striking employees are expected be back to work Saturday.
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.
Despite multiple meetings, UNRWA's administration and unions had failed until this week to strike a deal to end the strike, which has kept schools closed and severely limited provisions of basic services to 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.