News & Activites 14 February 2018
Failure to pay the salaries of public sector employees in the Gaza Strip is affecting employees dignity and their families
The Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR) demands that the Palestinian government pay the salaries of all Gaza public sector employees without further delay or stalling. The Commission considers justifications such as ‘technical issues’, unacceptable and unconvincing.
According to the Commission’s follow-up, in 2/5/2018 the government had only paid 50% of salaries of Gaza public sector employees for the month of March (based on net salary after unlawful deductions initiated by the government as of April 2017). April 2018 salaries have not yet been paid, in addition to the remaining portion of March salaries. It is important to mention that this public sector employee crisis in the Gaza Strip (GS) began on 4/4/2017 when the government slashed the salaries of employees by 30%-50% in an attempt to put pressure on Hamas to dissolve its administrative committee. Hamas had indeed dissolved its administrative committee in October 2017, yet deductions on salaries have continued.
The ongoing use of this salary deductions policy and/or incomplete disbursement of salaries is considered a direct and serious breach of the fundamental rights of public sector employees, including their right to a decent life. It also drives them and their families to fall beneath the poverty line and obligates them to seek aid, affecting their dignity, especially with the arrival of the holy month of Ramadan.
The Commission addressed the Prime Minister on the importance of suspending the non-payment of salaries and deduction policies affecting public sector employees in the GS. The Commission highlighted the infractions and violations resulting from these procedures, which constitute a violation to the principle of equality and a discriminative act between public sector employees, given that it only involves employees in the GS and excludes those in the West Bank. Article 9 of the amended Basic Law enforces this principle. Such actions shall lead to the deterioration of the economic and social situation and increase of poverty rates in the GS. The Commission also addressed the Chairman of the National Council during the meetings of the Council and requested a firm position by the Council with regard to the salary’ crisis in the GS.
Hence, ICHR calls upon the Ministerial Council immediately respond to this lawful and humanitarian request, and to pay the salaries and claims of public sector employees in the GS, in harmony with its obligations and in accordance with international and national legal standards concerning public employments, as well as Palestinian National Council resolutions and those of the Palestinian Central Council.