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PGFTU: Gaza's poverty level reaches 80%

May 1, 2019 4:00 P.M. (Updated: May 3, 2019 11:59 A.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Marking International Labor Day, the besieged Gaza Strip has seen its unemployment rate rise to 54% with poverty levels rising to 80%, according to Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU), on Wednesday.

The head of the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions, Sami al-Amassi, said in a statement that the situation in Gaza reached a catastrophic level, noting that the numbers are “shocking.”

The increase of unemployment and poverty are a result of the Israeli 12-year siege, which has limited the import and export of necessities, crippled the economy, hindered fund transfers, and left two million Palestinians living in the world’s largest open-air prison.

Al-Amassi said that although the Palestinian government has set the minimum wage at 1,450 shekels ($404), a government contracted cleaner only earns 730 shekels ($209) monthly.

However, al-Amassi pointed out that Palestinian workers are unable to complain about the low salaries due to there being no alternative forms of employment.

He called for development projects and industrial zones to be launched in Gaza, in order to promote the Palestinian economy with international protection from the Israeli occupation.

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