UNRWA Staff Union Strike in West Bank Ends

06 February 2014
UNRWA Staff Union Strike in West Bank Ends

The Commissioner-General of UNRWA, Filippo Grandi, wishes to announce that the UNRWA staff strike in the West Bank has ended. Following President Abbas' firm request for the strike to be concluded, and the effective mediation of Prime Minister Hamdallah and his government, a framework document was signed tonight between the Director of UNRWA Operations in the West Bank, Felipe Sanchez, and the representative of the Area Staff Union, Shaker Risheg. It will form the basis for constructive discussions and mutually agreed implementation of measures to improve the conditions of service of staff, and the quality of services to refugees.

UNRWA is looking forward to the immediate resumption of all services provided by the Agency in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, as the strike - which lasted for over two months - has inflicted enough suffering on an already disadvantaged population, something which UNRWA deeply regrets.

The Commissioner-General and the Director of Operations would like to take this opportunity to express UNRWA's gratitude to President Mahmoud Abbas, Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, Minister of Labour Ahmed Majdalani, the PLO Department of Refugee Affairs and the Camp Services Committees, and all those who contributed to finding a solution to this difficult situation.  

Background Information

UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and is mandated to provide assistance and protection to a population of some 5 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip to achieve their full potential in human development, pending a just solution to their plight. UNRWA’s services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, and microfinance.

Financial support to UNRWA has not kept pace with an increased demand for services caused by growing numbers of registered refugees, expanding need, and deepening poverty. As a result, the Agency's General Fund (GF), supporting UNRWA’s core activities and 97 per cent reliant on voluntary contributions, has begun each year with a large projected deficit. Currently the deficit stands at more than US$ 106  million.

For more information, please contact:

Christopher Gunness
Spokesperson, Director of Advocacy & Strategic Communications
+972 (0)54 240 2659
+972 (0)2 589 0267
Sami Mshasha
Chief of Communications & Arabic Language Spokesperson
+972 (0)54 216 8295
+972 (0)2 589 0724

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