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Middle East

Palestinian gov't workers strike over salary delays

Latest update : 2009-02-15

Tens of thousands of Palestinian govenment workers went on strike Sunday after not receiving their salaries for two weeks, as a result of the dwindling finances of the Palestinian Authority.

AFP - Tens of thousands of Palestinian government workers went on strike on Sunday after not receiving their salaries for two weeks because of growing pressure on Palestinian Authority coffers.

"The strike is complete, with 100 percent of all political institutions" taking part, Bassam Zakarna, the head of the civil servants' union, told AFP. He added that the strike would last 24 hours.

"The strike today is a warning, it is a shout out to the Arab countries and those pledged to provide aid to the Palestinian Authority," he added.

The Palestinian Authority, led by the Western-backed secular president Mahmud Abbas, says it has been under growing financial strain since Israel's three-week-long war on the Islamist Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

More than 1,300 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed in the conflict, and thousands of homes and factories were flattened during the onslaught.

The West Bank government still pays salaries to some 77,000 civil servants in Gaza despite the fact that forces loyal to Abbas were driven from the coastal territory when Hamas seized power there in June 2007.

The Palestinian Authority has also sought to lead reconstruction efforts in the besieged enclave, which has been under strict Israeli sanctions since Hamas took over.

The Palestinian Authority has some 165,000 employees in both the Israeli-occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Date created : 2009-02-15