Public employees strike in Gaza over unpaid salaries

Public employees strike in Gaza over unpaid salaries

Public employees strike in Gaza over unpaid salaries

Public sector employees in the Gaza Strip went on strike on Feb. 26 over unpaid salaries, amid a dispute between the two major Palestinian factions.

All government institutions closed their doors in the morning as the union of public employees called for a strike - the second in a month.

The union said the strike is necessary as staff have only received 40 percent of their salaries for five months.

Khalil Hamada, a spokesman for the union, said the strike was “part of protest activities that will continue until the government responds to the rights of the staff in full”.

The two major Palestinian factions, Islamists Hamas and the secular Fatah, signed a reconciliation agreement in October that was supposed to see Hamas hand back control of Gaza a decade after seizing the enclave.

Under the agreement the Fatah-dominated Palestinian government was meant to pay the salaries of tens of thousands of civil servants employed by Hamas until a final solution could be found.

But they have failed to implement the agreement, with the two sides trading blame over responsibility.

Hamas has ruled Gaza since seizing it from Fatah it in a near civil war in 2007, after a dispute over the result of parliamentary elections Hamas won.

Separately the fishermen’s union in Gaza also observed a strike on Feb. 26, to protest the death of one of its members who was shot dead by Israeli forces the previous day.

Israel said the boat travelled outside Gaza’s designated fishing zone and ignored orders to stop, prompting naval forces to fire warning shots before shooting toward the vessel.

The union disputed this version of events.

Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza have fought three wars since 2008 and the territory has been under an Israeli blockade for more than 10 years.

Fishing off the northern part of the strip, adjacent to Israel, is limited to six nautical miles offshore and the Israeli navy regularly fires warning shots or at Palestinians who breach it.

Such incidents rarely result in deaths.