Palestina - Conflict and threats to workers at the United Nations Relief and Works Agency [UNWRA] in Gaza (2012)

Unrest continued throughout the year at the UNWRA in Gaza. Twenty-two warehouse workers began a hunger strike on 30 March, demanding better wages. An initial threat to strike saw wages raised USD55 per month, but the working week was extended from 37 hours to 42, and overtime wages were canceled, according to the spokesman. The 22 men were employed on five year contracts, without health insurance or safety protection. The vice-President of UNRWA Operations reportedly threatened to fire the strikers. The strike action was supported by the UNRWA Workers’ Union. Two workers were reportedly fired.

In another dispute, the UNWRA union called for a series of agency wide strikes beginning on 13 April, in protest against unfair dismissals. Some 11,500 employees went on strike. In May a further strike was held over the dismissal of three workers. The Federation of Independent Trade Unions called for a campaign of solidarity with the UNRWA workers.

In September, workers staged a sit-in over the decision made to suspend the President of the UNWRA Staff Union, Suhail al-Hindi, for three months without pay on account of his trade union activities. In protest against the decision, the Union of Arab Employees at UNWRA held several work stoppages at schools in September and October.

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