Workers of UN relief agency stop strikes in Jordan

Workers of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) stopped strikes late on Sunday in Jordan after an agreement to raise the staff’s pay was reached.

In a statement a copy of which was obtained by Xinhua, Jordan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Ayman Safadi and head of a follow-up committee on staff union’s demands, Riyadh Zieghan, announced the signing of a contract to end the strike.

The minister said the agreement took into consideration the workers’ demands and UNRWA’s economic conditions, stressing that protecting UNRWA is a priority for Jordanian foreign policy.

The minister said Jordan is intensifying its efforts to extend the agency’s mandate, which will be put to a vote at the UN general assembly this month.

“The continuation of the agency’s UN-mandated role is necessary and will be neither compromised nor negotiated,” Safadi said in the statement.

According to Zieghan, the agreement will give employees pay raises monthly ranging from 70 dinars (98.8 U.S. dollars) to 100 dinars depending on the rank.

Early on Sunday, more than 7,000 workers of the UN agency took part in the strike, asking to increase their salaries by around 140 dollars per month, according to UNRWA representatives.

UNRWA operates 171 schools in Jordan, located in 13 camps, in addition to schools outside the camps in large Palestinian refugee communities. The number of health centers run by the agency is 25, serving 1.6 million people, according to Petra news agency.

In 2018, the United States stopped all funding for the UNRWA.