Pierre Krähenbühl – UNRWA Commissioner-General
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) said that a deal was reached between the Agency and the UNRWA Jordan Field Staff Union, ending the labor strike that began on Sunday.
UNRWA said new measures adopted by the agency include salary increases for public school teachers in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and the launch of an immediate salary survey to assess how the recent wage increase in Jordan will impact salaries in UNRWA.
“The Agency has taken important steps in the interest of staff at a time of significant financial challenges,” said UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl. “I would like to particularly thank the Minister of Foreign Affairs, H.E. Ayman Safadi, whose extraordinary personal commitment and support were key to the positive resolution of the situation.”
Krähenbühl also thanked the Director-General of Department of Palestine Affairs, Rafiq Kherfan, for his mediation and efforts throughout discussions on the continuity of vital humanitarian services, the accountability towards donors and the wellbeing of Palestine refugees.
“We are very grateful to all those who have played a positive role and have allowed us to move beyond points of disagreement,” said Krähenbühl. “In any strike, the possible impact on the refugees weighs heavily on us – meeting their needs is the Agency’s priority. We would now like to ensure that we all go back to focusing on our responsibility towards Palestine refugees and towards ensuring that all vital services are uninterrupted.”
By the end of last week, UNRWA staff workers had joined a strike to push for salary increase, forcing a shutdown of agency facilities.
More than two million Palestinians are registered in Jordan as refugees with UNRWA, which provides vital services, including healthcare and schooling.
In 2018, the United States cut all its funding for UNRWA, causing a shortfall that threatened to close its schools and hospitals.