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RAMALLAH: The Palestinian Engineers Syndicate announced the escalation of its protest action, with hundreds protesting outside the Palestinian Prime Minister’s headquarters in Ramallah on Monday as ministers gathered for their weekly Cabinet session.
The protesters are demanding the financial rights of public engineers and demanding a commitment from the government to implement a financial agreement signed between the two parties last year, union sources told Arab News.
He demanded the implementation of the Cabinet decision, which provides for the payment of a bonus to engineers working in the public sector at a rate of 120%, similar to employees in the same segment.
He also wants awards for military engineers and housing allowances for fourth-year engineering teachers.
Union president Nadia Habash told the sit-in: “We demand that the prime minister come down from his ivory tower to address the masses of engineers demanding their rights.”
She urged the Prime Minister to ‘look at us and talk to engineers, talk to them, listen to them and respond to their demands’.
She highlighted the pursuit of justice and fairness for engineers and the implementation of the agreement signed with the government in 2014, saying the government persisted in ignoring their pleas and denying them their rights.
She said the government had taken legal action against the engineers to stop their strikes and repudiate the agreement.
The union has launched a general engineers’ strike throughout the past week to pressure the government to meet its demands.
On July 30, he announced the escalation of his protest action for that week.
As part of a series of strikes and work breaks, which engineers carried out on Sunday, they also stayed away from the workplace and stayed at union headquarters.
Permanent engineers were also asked to leave their offices and follow the strike.
The union began stepping up its campaign in June, announcing an eight-day strike this month for public sector engineers.
Osama Taha, head of the union in Ramallah, told Arab News: “We waited for the government to approve its budget for 2022 and the approval of the president, but we have a government that does not respect or implement the agreements he signs.
The protest involves 30,000 engineers in the West Bank, 18,000 active members of the union and 2,000 public sector employees from Palestinian Authority-affiliated ministries.
The escalation of action coincides with a month-long ongoing protest by 10,500 Palestinian lawyers.
A senior Fatah Central Committee official has expressed concern that the widening circle of labor protests could weaken the status of the Palestinian Authority and cripple life in the West Bank, especially if other unions such as doctors , pharmacists and teachers were announcing a strike and similar protest stages.
“This series of protests and trade union strikes to demand rights indicates a flaw in the relationship between the government and civil society institutions and negatively affects and weakens the image of the Palestinian government,” said Ahmed Rafiq Awad, director of the Al-Quds Center for the Future. Studies at Al-Quds University, Arab News told Arab News,
“The frequency and duration of strikes lead to precarious employment which weakens the prestige of authority and can lead to the paralysis of public life.
“Had the government asserted that it lacked financial capability, we would have cooperated with it to regard what was agreed upon as a debt to its engineers, which it can fulfill and meet whenever its financial terms s are improving, but he did not respect the agreements with the union and ignored them.
But he expressed his hope that there would eventually be an agreement between the two parties.
Amid concerns over the protests, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyieh said at the start of Monday’s weekly Cabinet session in Ramallah that the Israeli government’s decision to deduct $177 million from Palestinian tax funds was unfair. , illegal and piracy.
“It adds to our financial crisis in another dimension, but it will not distract us from our commitment to the families of prisoners and martyrs,” he added.
Israel has deducted the value of the salaries that the authority pays to the families of prisoners and martyrs since the end of last December.
Israel’s move has had a negative impact on the authority’s financial terms, as it now pays 80% of the wage value of its 170,000 public employees.