Awut warns activists using teachers’ salaries for political interest

Awut Deng Achuil, National Minister of General Eduaction and Instruction (Courtesy Photo/Presidential Press Unit)

By Taban Henry

Civil society activists have been warned against using teacher’s salaries and allowance to advance on their political interest in the State.

Earlier this month, police in Jonglei State arrested the head of Workers’ trade Union with his secretary as well as the chairperson of Teachers’ Union for staging protest over unpaid five-month salary arrears.

David Mayen Deng, Samuel Majier Looch and Ruben Matiop Mayol after staging a protest over five month unpaid arrears were held by police.

In the statement seen by the No.1 Citizen from the official Facebook of the President on Sunday the National Minister of General Education and Instruction, Awut Deng Achuil warned civil society and political activists against using the issue of teachers’ salaries as a mean to advance their political interest.  

“I urged political activists to refrain from using the issue of teachers’ salaries and allowance as a mean of trying to advance their political interests” she cautioned.

“I emphasized that transforming the country’s General Education sector is our collective responsibility. To ensure that our children are provided with quality education and it should not be politicized,” Awut added.

On Thursday, about 500 civil servants in Jonglei State capital Bor reportedly went on a general strike over non-payment of their five-month salary arrears led by Jonglei State Workers’ Trade Union.

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

“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.

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

Major – Majak in phone interview earlier confirmed the arrest workers’ trade union members, however, declined to disclose the identity of people detained and the detail of their arrest saying that investigation was still ongoing.

“I will not tell you exactly what happen but I will confirm that we have arrested three civil servants, and I will not tell you any detail of the arrest,” he confirm to No1 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 Union said last year governor Denay Jock refused to acknowledge 100% civil servants salary increment until the national Minister of Labor and his team came to clarify to the issue to the Bor-based government.

“From that time up to now Denay did not stop, he just continue to snatch away all the salary of civil servants that was the reason we went to strike yesterday [Thursday],  

“Today [Friday] he arrested three people among us chairperson of Workers Trade Union plus secretary general as well as the chairperson of teachers’ union. They are right now in police custody,”

He claimed that police told them the arrest order was from above which is none other than governor, asserting their protest was a peaceful one and they didn’t cause any havoc.

“They are there in police custody because the rights was denied by governor of Jonglei state Denay Jock Chagor, Denay is denying the right of everybody,”

“We will never stop striking unless our right will be heard by the national government that’s why we cry so that national government hears 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”.

Meanwhile, on Friday, the three detained members of the Worker Union were reported missing in the police custody raising another alarm from civil society activists and the families of the civil servants who demand the State authorities tell them the whereabouts of their loved ones, who were nowhere to be found in the cell.

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