By Adia Jildo
The deans of the University of Juba have given the government one more week to swiftly respond to their demand.
Lecturers in the University of Juba lifted the ultimatum in regards to the failure of the Minister of Finance to pay their six-month’s salaries.
Bek Thurjang, the executive director of the University of Juba stated that they were not able to take further steps since the five Vice Chancellors and the Minister of Higher Education were to meet the President on 16th March 2022 stating that it was impossible for them to take such steps.
“You cannot meet the President while you are on strike or have suspended your lectures” he said.
Furthermore, the recent campaign by good will personnel who are mediating between the University of Juba and the minister of finance for the lecturers’ arrears to be paid was another reason.
He said individuals of good will have started mediating between the University of Juba and the Minister of Finance demanding the staff’s arrears to be paid.
“They (good will personnel) have exerted their whole efforts to make sure that staff are paid as demanded and University of Juba has given a consideration for their effort and it has given them time to continue with their effort,” Thurjang said.
He said that the first year students have been given consideration to finish their examination on Friday before other decisions could be taken.
“On Monday 21st March 2022, if there is no positive response from the Minister of Finance then a further decision would be taken,” he said.
What had happened?
On Tuesday 8th 2022, examinations and lectures were annulled due to the failure of the payment of the arrears. The committee gave an ultimatum of a week for a positive response from the Minister of Finance and the government which were not responded.
The month of September 2020, January 2021, and November 2021, December 2021 and in addition to January and February 2022 were not paid.
No response on the payment or agreement has been reached between the staff of the University of Juba and the Minister of Finance.
“He (Undersecretary of the Ministry of Finance) said they are going to pay arrears but until today [Tuesday], there is nothing. There is no any payment done until now. It’s just a statement to raise hope but there is nothing that materialized from it,” Thurjang said.
He called on the government to swiftly respond to the calls of the lecturers of the University of Juba.
“Chapter one is considered as the right of the employees. There is no where you can work for half a year and you are not paid. How are you expected to come for lectures?” he questioned.
“We are helping the nation, we are helping the government and indeed the government should also help us,” he added.
Thurjang cited that University professors all over the world are highly paid unlike South Sudan.
“There is need to consider re-adjusting our salaries. These 500 dollars per month which does not even come, if it can be adjusted, we call on the government to clear our six months arrears, pay us on time and adjust our salaries,” he called.