(AA) – Hamas-appointed civil servants started a one-day general strike on Thursday in the Gaza Strip on Thursday to pressure the unity government in Ramallah to look into a set of employees’ grievances.
“Civil servants in Gaza’s government ministries and institutions have gone on a one-day strike to protest the policies of the unity government,” Mohamed Seyam, the head of Gaza civil servants’ union, told The Anadolu Agency.
Seyam accused the unity government’s leaders of “making partisan decisions in a deviation from the framework of national unity.”
On Tuesday, the unity government decided to form a committee to seek solutions for administrative problems induced by the rifts between Hamas and rival Fatah which led to the formation of separate governments in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip respectively in 2007.
The decision, however, was criticized by the union, which said that it had agreed with Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah – during the latter’s visit to Gaza in late March – on forming a “joint committee” to discuss Gaza’s employees’ status.
Hamas, the de facto ruler of the Gaza Strip, has said that it had agreed with Hamdallah during his visit to the Gaza Strip to form a joint panel to solve problems of the blockaded territory, including the failure of the unity government to pay Hamas-appointed civil servants their salaries for several months now.
The unity government was formed in June of 2014 in the light of a reconciliation deal between rival groups Fatah and Hamas weeks earlier.
The government is in theory responsible for all Palestinian civil servants, including those in the Gaza Strip. However, Gaza employees – around 40,000 – have not received their salaries since June of 2014.