By William Madouk
South Sudanese working without written contracts are vulnerable to labour rights abuses, said the Minister of Labour, James Hoth Mai.
The minister was on Monday, speaking at the signing ceremony of the Labour Regulation at his office in Juba.
He warned that many people are risking working without legal documents which makes them insecure and difficult to defend when claiming their labour rights.
“We are telling our people, please, don’t accept being recruited without a legal document that is called a contract, [but] they are not doing that, and it’s very important,” Hoth said.
He said private sector employers prefer hiring individuals without formal documentation, but warned that when problems arise, the labour docket cannot help due to the lack of legal papers.
“Now, when there is a problem and you run to us here, there is nothing that we can account for that person [the employer] because there is no document,” the minister stressed.
Minister Hoth advised workers not to accept jobs without contracts that shield their labour rights if any differences arose.
“Please try to avoid making a contract by yourself; you must have a witness so that you are protected tomorrow by law,” he advised.
He also added that the majority of workers do not know their rights and obligations, including a safe working environment.
The minister called on employers to abide by labour laws and regulations.
“We don’t force anybody who is doing business, but they have to apply law and regulation and abide by them,” Mr. Hoth noted.
He urged citizens to change their mentality because all the businesspeople are profit-minded, and so need good behaviors so as to be able to work with them.
Minister Mai further advised South Sudanese to compete in the market rather than extravagantly wasting resources on unnecessary things.
“We are encouraging our people to please get something and don’t play with accumulation so that you become people tomorrow.”
He noted that there are people who have opportunities to make money but end up in extravagant spending spree.
“You can see what they do: they go and marry many wives, buy V8s, and do other things,” he cited.