Unemployment Rate Reaches 82% in Gaza Strip amid Coronavirus Crisis

Palestine is currently under a state of emergency to prevent the spread of coronavirus infections. (Photo: Fawzi Mahmoud)

The economic repercussions of the coronavirus have led to an increase in the unemployment rate in the besieged Gaza Strip by 17 percent, with 82 percent of the population now out of work, the head of the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions in Gaza Strip, Sami Al-Amsi, said yesterday.

The official explained in a statement that the pandemic has affected more than 160,000 workers in Gaza Strip directly and indirectly and led to the closure of several factories, companies and workshops that had to lay off thousands of employees.

“Workers today are competing to work for long hours and for low wages to meet their families’ needs,” Al-Amsi said, explaining that working hours often range between 10-13 hours a day while wages range from 15 to 35 shekels ($4.5-$10.5) in the best conditions.

“The public transport sector has been completely paralyzed. There are 15,000 to 20,000 drivers working partially or moderately, while the construction sector, which employs 40,000 workers, has completely stopped and only 8,000 out of 21,000 workers have returned to the industrial sector. Moreover, 4,000 fishermen suffer from daily Israeli attacks,” Al-Amsi explained.

Unify effort must be taken by the public and private sectors to improve the lives of workers, he stressed, calling on government agencies in the Gaza Strip, the Legislative Council and Qatar’s Committee for the Reconstruction of Gaza to allocate special grants and provide urgent assistance to the workers.

Gaza, with a population of 2 million, has been under a hermetic Israeli siege since 2006, when the Palestinian group Hamas won the democratic legislative elections in occupied Palestine. Since then, Israel has carried out numerous bombing campaigns and several major wars, that resulted in the death of thousands of people. 

(Palestine Chronicle, MEMO, Social Media)

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