Jonglei State civil servants remain firm on strike
The Workers Trade Union, the umbrella organisation governing civil servants in Jonglei State, has vowed to continue with the strike and peaceful demonstrations until the state government meets the needs of civil servants.
The union maintained that they would not accept salaries without allowances but should be paid according to the statement from the national Minister of Public Service and Human Resources Development, Joseph Bakosoro.
Speaking on SSBC, Bakosoro said the “basic salary should be multiplied by two plus the allowances to give gross salaries of civil servants’’.
The civil servants said that after this, the deductions can be made to come up with the net salary which they said conformed to their complaints.
The union criticised the calculation made by the state government without allowances added to it. Since then, the workers have been demanding what they called “nature of work allowance” which they said is the cause of their complaint among other teachers’ allowances.
They said their strike and peaceful demonstration were solely for claiming their rights and not politically motivated as wrongly preached.
On Friday last week, the union accused the state government of overlooking their needs. They claimed the Director Generals had increased their salaries without the approval of the national government and the state council of ministers.
“We, the citizens of the state have also realised that all the state constitutional post holders and DGs increased their salaries and all the allowances without National Resolution or even a State Legislative Assembly, where the minimum payment is SSP 180, 000,” the statement read.
“Therefore, the state Worker’s Trade Union would like to declare the continuation of strike and public demonstration until our demands are met.”
They claimed the strike and peaceful demonstrations ensued as a result of no positive response to their needs by the state government.
“As a result of our demonstration, payrolls were prepared by the Ministry of Labour, Public Service and Human Resources Development by Payroll Officers and taken to the Ministry of Finance for cheques to be signed by the Director-General,” the statement read.
“Unfortunately, the Director-General refused to sign the cheques claiming that there was no cash liquidity while the credit advice was sent detailing all the cash that was 265,842,080 SSP plus SSP19,000,000 as Sale Tax which make the total sum of SSP 284, 842, 080 minus all civil servants salaries of 135,000,000 SSP for all the defunct Jonglei State.”
Last week, President Salva Kiir summoned the national Minister for Public Service Joseph Bakosoro and Jonglei State Governor Denay Jock Chagor over the worker uprising in Jonglei State.
The meeting focused on the solution to the issue of unpaid salaries and allowances of civil servants, as well as the conflict prevalent in Jonglei State and the Greater Pibor Administrative Area (GPAA).
Bakosoro urged the civil servants and the citizens to desist from strikes and demonstrations over 100 per cent salary increment which the government had already granted them.
“Bakosoro appealed to the public and people of Jonglei State to shun meaningless riots as their salaries have been increased to 100 per cent,” read the statement from the office of the President.
The state Governor Chagor called for calm and urged the public to be law-abiding citizens.
The workers’ trade union last week disclosed the governor’s pledge to meet their needs after a telephone conversation organised by the State Director of National Security.
The Secretary-General of Jonglei State Workers Trade Union, Samuel Majier, in an interview with the City Review said they were patiently waiting for the governor’s promise to come to pass.
“We are now waiting for our full payment from the ministry of finance. If they fail to pay us, we shall return to the Director of National Security (in the state) to tell us the way forward,” he said.
The Executive Director of Intrepid South Sudan who is a civil rights activist in the state, Bol Deng Bol, said the civil servants were claiming their rights adding that they could return to peaceful demonstrations if their need was not met.
Call for demonstrations
The WTU called for peaceful demonstrations by civil servants weeks ago advising them to claim their civil rights and 100 per cent salary increment and nature of work allowance.
The union indicated that the salaries had been modified by the state authorities to suit their interests instead of letting the salaries conform to the presidential directive of the 100 per cent salary increment.
“We reject the modified salary structure by the state government (as) we immediately lay down our tools,’’ the statement read in part.
“These actions will go on until the state government sees the need to meet the 100 per cent increment of civil servants’ salaries in accordance with the new structure and the state Ministry of Public Service endorsement through the new payroll,” it further stated.
The Acting State Governor, Tuong Majok Deng, said they had accepted to pay the 100 per cent salaries but the nature of work allowances would wait for the return of the governor pending discussions.
Deng added that the salaries were deductible as they were gross and that net salaries will be paid after such unspecified deductions are made.
“My concern is that there are allowances which have not been in the system of Jonglei since 2005 called “nature allowances.” It is not there to be added to the salary, it was introduced by the new state government,” Tuong said.