SKeyes Center for Media and Cultural Freedom - Samir Kassir Foundation

Ma’an News Agency Refuses to settle Financial Dues of Three Journalists

Source Gaza - SKeyes
Sunday , 03 May 2020

The Ma’an news agency refused to settle the dues of three journalists under the pretext of financial hardship and in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Abdallah Mokdad, Ahmad Abu Khusa and Hadiya Al-Ghoul were dismissed a year ago, in April 2019.

“I was fired for the first time in December 2013 then asked to resume my duties in October 2014. I was terminated a second time on January 9, 2019 under the social security law, which the government was about to approve. The HR department sent me a dismissal letter. When I got in touch with the administration, they told me that the procedure was nothing but a formality,” Mokdad said in an interview with SKeyes.

“I was asked to return to the office from March to mid-April 2019 to work as a correspondent for one of the channel’s shows in the Gaza Strip. After that, a conflict broke out with the Gaza director who decided to stop the office work until further notice. Of course, they did not officially notify me to get around the arbitrary dismissal procedure. We were surprised to find out that several employees recovered their jobs but not all of us. In my case, it is four years of unpaid dues between October 2014 and April 2019,” Mokdad added.

Al-Ghoul told SKeyes that she was dismissed for the first time in May 2017 and then back to work a couple of months later, in October. “They paid my dues after the first dismissal. I was fired in February 2019 for the second time and back from March to April 2019. According to the Palestinian Labor Law, dues are paid six months after signing the financial clearance. Until now, we have not received any financial clearance or dues and we don’t have any detail related to the amount we are supposed to receive,” she said.

As for Abu Khusa, he was terminated the first time in December 2013 and went back to work in June 2014. "I was then dismissed in January 2019 and asked to take up my position again from March to April 2019. They owe me four years of unpaid dues. They claim that the outlet is going through a financial crisis and is unable to fulfil its duties but we know that it is very active all over the territory. We also know that from time to time the agency still pays bonuses to the remaining employees. With the coronavirus outbreak, the state of emergency is a perfect pretext to completely stop mentioning the dues”, Abu Khusa said.

A Ma’an management member told SKeyes that the agency has always paid its dues. “Both Abu Khusa and Al-Ghoul were fired before and received their dues. What is left is Hadiya’s year and a half worth of dues after she resumed work following the first dismissal in 2017. Ahmad Abu Khusa has four-year dues after he was fired for the first time in 2013. The agency gave priority to salary arrears. When the three journalists were fired, they – and all the other employees – had not been paid in ten months because of the financial crisis. Therefore, we settled the arrears in several instalments. Of course, we will pay them their termination benefits as soon as the money is available,” the agency's representative added.

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