News, Northern Bahr el-ghazal

Employees on strike over salary cuts

By Hou Akot Hou

More than one hundred employees at the Ministry of Agriculture in Northern Bahr el Ghazal State have gone on a sit-down strike over salary cuts.

The workers told the media on Tuesday that they were shocked to find that their salaries for the previous month had been deducted.

One of the striking staff members, Dut Dut Chan, who is an assistant mechanic in the ministry, said that their monthly salaries were cut on alleged absenteeism.

“We were told that the 3rd and 4th of July were public holidays as people were in Wau, so we didn’t come to work as many offices were closed,” he recounted.

But Mr. Dut, clarified that on the third and fourth of July, residents of the Bahr el Ghazal region travelled to Wau for the large SPLM political event when President Kiir was endorsed as the SPLM party’s nominee for the 2024 presidential elections.

“We got taken aback when they cut our salaries. Why take people’s salaries in such a manner?” He questioned.

Dut asserted that they are determined to find out why the elites are treating them unfairly and that if they had been informed of the real reason for the cuts, they would not have engaged in a peaceful protest.

He appealed for an intervention from the state authority as the two days were mandatory off days, which compelled them to stay home.

Another staff member, Achol Wieu, determinedly said that they would not go to work until their grievances were addressed.

“When we went to Wau for a conference, they knew it, and we wonder why they cut the money from June salaries and not from July salaries,” she said.

Achol wondered why the salary cut only affected low-ranking staff, such as the watchmen, “Kondok”.

In response, the chairperson of the Employees and Justice Commission in the state, Mr. Jacob Maduok Akech, said that he got a circular from the Minister of Agriculture that their salaries had to be cut, but after making a full inquiry into the matter, he found out that the employees were entitled to getting their full pay.

Maduok said that the Director General at the state ministry of Agriculture was convinced, as the retreat in Wau was for all SPLM members and that the people who went there were on official sojourn.

He emphasized that unity government requires no politicization, as people work in ministries regardless of political parties. Official journeys should not be taken political, as they are part of the Unity government.

It is said that the employees are from the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM, and their minister is from the opposition SPLM-IO, which complicates the matter further.



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