Gaza hospitals stop service as workers strike
A Palestinian woman walks past the ruins of houses in Johr El-Deek village in central Gaza - REUTERS

CAIRO: “All Gaza Strip hospitals were paralyzed as medical staff stopped work in protest of their salaries being held for seven consecutive months,” announced the Palestinian Ministry of Health spokesperson Ashraf al-Qedra Sunday.

He added in a Facebook post that work has stopped in the surgical wards and intensive care units since the strike began Sunday.

The ministry formed in December a financial committee to consider the problems and unpaid salaries for the sectors of cleaning and nutrition, Qedra said Dec. 30.

The cleaning staff union at Palestinian hospitals went on a full work strike in September for five months of back pay.  The workers put up a picket line in an area near the Legislative Council in Gaza to press their demands. On Sept. 17, more than 180 surgeries were postponed due to the company’s work strike.

Many Gaza hospitals were destroyed by Israeli bombardment during the 51-day war between Palestine and Israel before a long-term cease-fire was brokered by Egypt on Aug. 19.

The war killed 2,083 Palestinians, including 561 children and 475 women, and injured more than 10,482, including 3,189 children, according to a Palestinian Health Ministry report released Aug. 21. Meanwhile, 68 Israelis, 64 of whom were military personnel, were killed according to Israeli media reports.

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