UNRWA pay rise: staff gain JOD100
A dispute between UNRWA workers and the agency came to a final close on Wednesday after the two parties reached an agreement granting the staff the JD100 pay raise they wanted.
“We cannot be more satisfied,” said a source from one of UNRWA’s workers’ councils, who was present at a meeting held at the Foreign Ministry to resolve the issue. The meeting, attended by Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh, UNRWA Commissioner General Filippo Grandi, Department of Palestinian Affairs Director General Mahmoud Aqrabawi and presidents of four workers’ councils, was the second in two weeks.
The first meeting was called by the Foreign Ministry last week to broker an agreement with the agency’s workers to end an open-ended strike, which lasted for five days.
Judeh announced at that time that an agreement in principle had been reached between UNRWA’s administration and employees to end the strike, granting employees an immediate JD50 raise. However, heads of the workers’ councils said they had only agreed to end the strike after promises that another meeting would be held to discuss the rest of their demands, which included an additional JD50 pay raise.
Under the final agreement, salaries of the agency’s workers will be increased by JD50 retroactively from the beginning of this year, while the remaining JD50 will be given to them starting in September. The agreement also stipulated that the employees compensate the agency for their five-day strike to avoid having their pay docked.
“We will go to work for the next five Saturdays to compensate for the days of the work stoppage,” the source told The Jordan Times over the phone. The parties also agreed to study the sectors whose workers need more incentives on equal footing with their public and private sectors peers.
“With this agreement, we can say that we have ended our escalatory measures and disputes with the administration,” the source stated. Meanwhile, Grandi said the raise would worsen the financial hardships the agency is facing, adding that UNRWA’s $560 million budget for the five fields of operation used to suffer from a $70 million deficit, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.
Several deputies had previously called on the government to find a solution to the strike, which cut off services for the Kingdom’s 1.5 million Palestinian refugees.
Nearly all of the agency’s 7,500 employees responded to a call by their representative councils to hold the work stoppage, which started on May 6, in protest against UNRWA’s “reluctance” to meet their demands.
In addition to the JD100 pay raise, the workers were calling for promotions for teachers, directors and supervisors; filling of vacancies in all the agency’s sectors; and the improvement of work conditions.