Workers have seized partial control of the headquarters of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees in Hamas-run Gaza, its head said Wednesday, accusing their union of “mutiny” over job cuts.
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) announced last month more than 250 staff in Gaza and the occupied West Bank would lose their jobs, after a $300 million cut in annual funding from the US.
The redundancies have prompted daily protests by the agency’s labour union in the enclave, which UNRWA’s Gaza head said have led to security concerns.
“They have taken over the compound where my office and other offices are,” said Matthias Schmale.
The agency’s Gaza chief admitted UNRWA does not have full control over the site, in Gaza City, explaining he has not been able to access his own office for more than two weeks.
“I am the captain of the ship which has 13,000 sailors on it and they have basically thrown me off the bridge and consigned me to my captain’s quarters,” he told AFP, referring to the number of employees in Gaza.