Quarterly Updates for (16 Nov 2016 — 15 Feb 2017)

UNRWA’s Financial Crisis

The union of UNRWA employees in Gaza staged another high-profile strike this quarter to protest job cuts, unfilled positions, unpaid salaries, and declining services. UNRWA officials maintained that there had been no reduction of services in Gaza, despite the agency’s ongoing budget struggles (see JPS 45 [1, 2]). On 11/21, after mos. of inconclusive talks between union officials and UNRWA reps., around 1,000 union mbrs. went on strike in Gaza City. Negotiators met again on 11/25, and the union announced (11/27) that it would suspend the strikes for 10 days and form a comm. to resolve persistent disagreements. UNRWA reportedly hired 200 new teachers and pledged to hire 200 more in 1/2017, according to union officials (11/27), but it was too little, too late, they said. On 12/15, they announced that the talks had failed yet again and that protests would escalate although there were no further reports of mass action in Gaza this quarter.