Local partners with Oxfam in Gaza organized a May Day event in Gaza to highlight the state of labor in the coastal enclave under the ongoing Israeli blockade.
The Democracy and Worker’s Rights Center, a Palestinian NGO focusing on worker’s rights across the occupied Palestinian territories, and Sawt Al Amel, an Palestinian-Israeli NGO, representing 500 Gaza workers suing their former Israeli employers for back wages and withheld pensions, arranged the rally in Gaza City to shed light on workers’ increasingly becoming dependent on aid, a statement read.
Adnan al-Alian, a father of eight who worked for nine years in the Erez Industrial Zone, says he now has no way to provide a decent life for his family, the statement read. “I’ve had no work except when I was given the opportunity to participate in a single three month cash-for-work program last year. I rely on food aid assistance to get by.”
According to the last labor force survey conducted by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS), overall unemployment in the Gaza Strip is 38.6 percent, although in some Gaza districts, such as Khan Younis in southern Gaza, unemployment has reached 49.3 percent, Oxfam quoted.
The Amman-based Arab Bank decided earlier this week to terminate the jobs of 70 percent of its employees in its three branches in the Gaza Strip, a step considered by Gaza economists on Tuesday as introduction to shut down these branches in the blockaded enclave.
The economists as well as observers in Gaza did not rule out that the Arab Bank’s measure “was an outcome of a deal reached between the Bank and Israel.”
On Sunday, the administrations of the three Gaza Strip branches held meetings with all their 103 employees in order to okay the exemption offers for the vast majority of the bank’s employees.
The employees said they were informed that the decision was made due to the Israeli blockade.