Palestinian refugees to strike against the reduction in service policy Amman - Arabstoday Officials from the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) for Palestinian refugees stopped working on Monday to demand higher salaries and protest against the reduction in service policy. Demonstrators
said the strike saw a hundred percent turnout. The workers\' committee critisised in a statement the UNRWA administration\'s rejection of their demands.
More than 7,000 staff of the UN Palestinian refugee agency in Jordan observed a one-day strike on Monday to demand better pay and conditions.
The UNRWA employees, including teachers and medical staff, \"demand a $140 salary raise and they do not want their annual bonus cut,\" UNRWA spokesperson Anwar Abu Sakinah told news agency AFP.
\"The strike also forced UNRWA\'s 172 schools in Jordan to close, affecting 123,000 pupils.\"
UNRWA also trains more than 600 teachers per year at universities. Moreover, the Amman training centre and Wadi Seer training centre provides training programmes for more than 1,300 students.
The agency also runs 24 centres for primary health care, serving a total of 1.1 million people. The centres deal with more than 2.3 million visits every year.
Abu Sakinah did not say if the staff plan to resume their strike if UNRWA management does not meet their demands.
The statement announced an open-ended strike starting Sunday, May 6. Dialogue between the heads of the committees and the agency came to a dead end amid urgent needs of schools in the camps such as development and maintenance of buildings and expansion of squares. The statement accused the director of operations as seeking changes in school formations and eliminating computer science teachers and librarians by writing off more than 160 jobs. They allegedly ignored the demands of teachers, trainers and engineers in universities and colleges to deprive those places from competencies.
\"UNRWA regrets the announced decision of staff unions to stage ... action in Jordan, which will negatively impact on the services we deliver to Palestine refugees in Jordan,\" the management said in a statement.
\"We appeal to the unions to call off this action and to respond to management\'s repeated requests... to hold meetings to resolve outstanding issues.\"
In all, UNRWA cares for some five million Palestinian refugees in the Middle East, around two million of them in Jordan.
The agency has made a $344 million emergency appeal this year.