STRIKE: Jonglei workers ‘storm’ governor’s office, police station

STRIKE: Jonglei workers ‘storm’ governor’s office, police station
A section of Jonglei Civil servants demonstrating outside the officer of the governor. [Photo: Chol Riek]

​There was total paralysis of activities on the streets of Bor town, the capital of Jonglei, in the early morning of Saturday, August 13, after civil servants staged a massive demo at the doorsteps of the office of the governor and the local police station.

The workers have been engaging the local authority over salary talks, but the issue got out of hand following the arrest of three union officials on Friday.

Jonglei State government on Friday apprehended three civil servants – including, David Mayen Deng, the chairperson of Jonglei State Workers Trade Union, Samuel Majier, the secretary general of the union and Ruben Matiop Mayol from the Jonglei State Teachers’ Union.

The trio were accused of staging a protest for the payment of five months’ salary arrears.

Signage at the office of Jonglei state government.

On Saturday, the workers stormed the office of Governor Denay Chagor, as they demanded the release of their leaders.

“They are now heading to the police station where they [arrested officials] are being held, ” one of the protesters told our correspondent.

“We are protesting in the police centre, right now. We are demanding for our leaders who were arrested yesterday by the police to be released, immediately without delay,” Ibrahim Dhieu, the union’s spokesperson, told City Review via phone.

“They said our leaders are still under investigation. And we said if they are still under arrest, we shall demonstrate on Monday,” he added.

Late this week, the workers issued a strike notice over outstanding arrears dating back to September 2021.

“We are still owed September/October salaries – from last year,” added Dhieu.

Striking Jonglei State workers.

On Friday, the union called for the immediate release of their colleagues, further warning that failure by the authorities to act will be met with a massive demo early next week.

“I am calling upon all civil servants in the state to prepare for mass peaceful protest to continue demanding the salaries and for the release of our colleagues in illegal police detention,” read the strike notice.

“The reason for the arrest is, therefore, to intimidate and eventually silence civil servants from standing up for what is rightfully theirs.”

He further called on the national government to intervene by making sure their salaries is settled.

“The leadership of Jonglei State Workers’ Trade Union appeals to Governor Denay Jock Chagor to unconditionally and immediately release the detained three members. Also, we are urging the national government to intervene.”

​​Solution

The solution to peaceful demonstrations in Jonglei State had been through presidential orders and the formation of a committee to investigate the matter.

In January 2022, the state government started paying civil servants after the resolution made by the national government with the civil servants for full payment of 100 per cent salaries declared by President Salva Kiir.

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