Tuesday, May 24, 2011

PIC: "UNRWA strikers enraged after being 'blackmailed'"

This is not as dramatic as the headlines about how John Ging had to obtain machine guns for his bodyguards, but all is not well in UNRWA-land:
UNRWA's ”blackmail” and threats to dock strikers for the two days of work they missed for protests ”will only increase the staff's determination to defend their cause and rights,” said a statement released Sunday night by the UNRWA labor union.

Union members have convened constantly and will gather this Thursday to evaluate the situation after volunteers intervened to help defuse the crisis, the statement says.

It adds that ”negative results by the UNRWA administration has inevitably led to escalated and more powerful action”.

The union declared that it would ”give a new margin for talks with the UNRWA administration”.

All UNRWA facilities in the Gaza Strip went on strike on Wednesday and Thursday after the administration dismissed three men who were exonerated of various charges by the Palestinian courts.

In a related development, a teacher at an UNRWA school in Gaza has filed a claim against UNRWA after he was dismissed from his job unfairly.

He was reported to have been fired for alleged political activity ”outside of UNRWA's framework”.

Mazin al-Sheikh, an active member of the teachers union, said he was invited to attend a youth conference in Sweden, but his application for visa was rejected because Germany and Belgium rejected his entry to Europe.

Sheikh added that he was surprised that the German News Agency published a news item saying that Sweden refuses entry of Mazin al-Sheikh as a representative of Hamas.

Former UNRWA director of operations John Ging summoned Sheikh and asked him about the news item, and Sheikh told him that he was invited to participate in the conference as an active member of the teachers union and not to represent any political party but Ging went on to ask him to choose between resignation and dismissal because of what he called exercise of political activity outside the framework of UNRWA, according to Sheikh.

Sheikh says he has an impeccable record as a teacher at UNRWA schools and that he was unfairly dismissed because of Israeli and European dictates to UNRWA.

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