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Gaza's workers are increasingly suffering
Gaza's workers are increasingly suffering
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Fedaa al-Qedra

Gaza, ALRAY - In his collapsing house in the Khan Younis refugee camp, he has been living for years without a permanent job that can provide him and his family of thirteen a monthly income – an income that meets their requirements and their basic needs and allows  them to survive in the difficult conditions under which the 1.8 million people in Gaza live.

Ahmad said in an interview with ALRAY that the lack of the work opportunities in Gaza Strip, and in the construction sector in particular, led him to work in any job in order to meet the needs of his family, explaining that his life is very difficult due to the lack of job opportunities in the Gaza Strip.

He added, "I worked as a painter for several months, and also in transport, but all of these jobs were for limited periods that did not provide me the minimum requirements for my family."

Ahmad demanded that the Ministry of Labor and other relevant authorities provide steady employment for workers so that they can support their families, stressing that he has been unable to provide the requirements of his family.

Of the number of individuals participating in the labor force in the Gaza Strip 0.129 thousand are unemployed, while the statistics of the Central Bureau of Palestinian Statistics showed a rise in the unemployment rate to 39 percent in the Gaza Strip, and to approximately 18 percent in the Occupied West Bank.

In light of escalating proportions of the unemployed, the director of the General Federation of Trade Unions of Palestine, Sami Al-Amassi, said that the conditions of Palestinian workers in the Gaza Strip are passing through the worst stages as a result of a variety of circumstances, most notably the Israeli siege imposed on the Gaza Strip eight years ago

Al-Amassi explained that the workers in multiple fields are languishing, pointing out that entire sectors in the Gaza Strip have become almost non-functional, and have been targeted by the Israeli occupation forces.  Palestinian farmers have not able to reach their land that is located along the border with Israel, and that when they do, they are often exposed to deliberated shootings.

Al-Amassi mentioned that the government in Gaza provided temporary work opportunities for two thousand workers for two months with a salary of two hundred dollars, but those opportunities were not enough to meet the needs.

The Chairman of the General Union pointed out that the Gaza government has absorbed these workers. The Labor Ministry of Gaza announced that more than 22,000 workers and graduates have benefited from the temporary employment programs that were offered by the Labor Ministry during the year 2013.

In a report that the Public Administration for the quality of government performance in the Council of Ministers issued on the eve of International Labor Day about the achievements and the work of the government in the development sector, it was made clear that several projects were implemented to support workers and graduates, to reduce the unemployment rate and to care for poor families in the past year.

Magdi Mahmoud, 57 and an unemployed man, said that he has accumulated financial debt for a number of years that he can’t repay as a result of the lack of any business opportunities in Gaza.

Mahmoud said that his son, who works in one of the cafeterias in the Gaza Strip, supports his family, but he receives a salary of no more than $ 300, which is not enough to meet their needs.

He adds that "It is not reasonable that this deteriorating condition continues. Everyone has to look out for us. We are marginalized, and our situation gets worse and worse."

The Gaza Strip is significantly affected by the economic blockade that has been imposed by Israel for about eight years.  It has led to the demobilization of thousands of workers, the closure of hundreds of factories and workshops.  Also, under the blockade, Israel prevents the entry of several commodities and has banned manufactured goods and other products from being exported.