7000 UN employees in Jordan go on strike to demand pay raises

About 7,000 United Nations employees have gone on strike to press for pay raises to meet a 50-percent spike in living costs in Jordan. The one-day protest Monday has virtually shut down schools and clinics run by the UN Relief and Works Agency across Jordan. The kingdom hosts some 1.8 million Palestinian refugees, the largest number in the Arab world. UNRWA provides them with health care, education and other humanitarian services. The mainly Jordanian and Palestinian workers are demanding higher salaries to cover price increases due to the devaluating US dollar and rising fuel prices. UNRWA says it has increased salaries, but can't do more because of its 7 percent budget deficit and increased expenditures.