The Palestinian unity government on Tuesday ordered Gaza civil servants who stopped reporting to their duties in 2007 to get back to their jobs, as the salary spat continues in the enclave after the new unity government failed earlier to pay Hamas workers.
After its weekly meeting in the West Bank city of Ramallah, the government asked the cabinet ministers to inform all the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) workers in the Gaza Strip to return to their work.
But the Islamic Hamas movement rejected the government's call for the return of the employees.
"This is a bleak violation of the reconciliation agreement ... The unity government is just implementing Fatah movement's orders, " a Hamas spokesman said, adding that such a call is an attempt to avoid the government's responsibilities in the salary spat and other problems suffered by the Palestinian people. Hamas has previously criticized the unity government for not paying Hamas workers for two months.
The government also announced that an administrative and legal committee, which was formed after intensive discussions, will study the files of the sacked employees and the staff who had been hired by the Hamas movement after mid-June 2007.
Around 40,000 workers, who were employed by Hamas after its violent takeover of Gaza in 2007, have not been paid by the new unity government since it was sworn in on June 2.
The new consensus government has ended seven years of political division that started in June 2007 when Hamas took over Gaza after routing forces loyal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who now rules the West Bank.
The PNA ordered its 70,000 staff in Gaza to refrain from going to work after the Hamas took over the headquarters of ministries by force in mid-June 2007. At the time, Abbas sacked the Palestinian government headed by Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, who continued to run the Gaza Strip.