Civil society network calls for release of workers’ union

Courtesy photo

By William Madouk Garang

Jonglei Civil Society Network has called for the immediate release of three Workers’ Trade Union members who were arrested on Friday for allegedly staging protest over unpaid five-month salary arrears.

This call came after police in Jonglei State arrested trio on Friday, the head of Workers’ trade Union with his secretary as well as the chairperson of Teachers’ Union for staging demonstrations.  

They are identified as David Mayen Deng, Samuel Majier Looch and Ruben Matiop Mayol.

In a press statement seen by No.1 Citizen Daily Newspaper, the civil Society Network demanded the release, adding that having peaceful protestors arrested is against the law.

“We are appealing to the police Commissioner and Governor Denay to release the members of the Workers’ Trade Union from police detention,” the statement stated.

“Having them incarcerated for conducting peaceful protest in itself, is against their constitutional freedom of assembly and association as stipulated in Article 25 of the Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan, 2011, as amended,” it added.

The civil society network further said the protestors have not done something wrong but they are demanding for their rights and timely payment of salary against instituted payment committee.

“Ironically, at the very time the arrest was made, the payment committee was also dissolved and two months’ salaries were released. Some ministries started receiving their salary immediately – exactly what they want,” the activist group cited.

On Friday, Major – Daniel Majak confirmed the arrest, however, declined to disclose the identity of people detained and the detail of their arrest saying that investigation is still ongoing.

“I will not tell you exactly what happened but I will confirm that we have arrested three civil servants, and I will not tell you any detail of the arrest,” he earlier told No.1 Citizen Daily Newspaper.

“Of course there are some details but because of the investigation that’s why I will not tell you now,” he added

However, Bior Ajuong, member of the Union said, “we will never stop striking unless our right will be heard by the national government that’s why we cry so that the national government hears the suffering of people”.

“Let national government hear the suffering of people, the suffering of Jonglei state because we are too tired – we are too tired because our salary is not reaching us,” he echoed.

As of Saturday, civil servants in Jonglei were still staging protest chanting “we need our rights” “we need our arrears”.

Ibrahim Dhieu, the spokesperson of the Workers’ Trade Union told media earlier that workers laid down their tools in all government institutions effective Thursday last week. 

“On August 11, 2022, we declared a general strike in all government institutions and our demands are clear: we are claiming for salary arrears for five months for all government workers,” he said.

He also called for the dissolution of the so-called ‘screening committee for payment arrears’ allegedly formed by the state government to resolve the pay strike. 

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