National, News

We don’t take sides on employment matters-Minister

By Bida Elly David

National Minister of Labor, James Hot Mai says his docket sides with neither national nor foreign employees in disputes on payment and working conditions.

He stated that the law always decides the outcome of such cases, not the ministry.

Mai made these comments in response to questions from lawmakers about why the ministry failed to help 364 national employees who were in 2022 fired by a foreign company.

But Mai argued that the ministry’s role is to protect both employees and employers and that they do not have the power to support one side.

“As the Ministry of Labor, we are the protectors of anybody, whether employers or employees. We don’t have a court in the ministry to judge,” he told the lawmakers.

He said they can only investigate the complaints and try to mediate an amicable resolution, otherwise, the case will go to court where an independent decision will be made.

Sudan are important people who deserve protection from the government.

“What we do as the ministry of labor or government is that we discourage people from going to court. We work as extra experts—three of us—government, employers, and employees,” he lamented.

Mai emphasized that the government summons the complainant and defendant for tentative investigation in critical cases where the reported matter is critical.

“If there is a case, we call the employer and the employees, investigate, and three of us sit down to resolve the case amicably. Should any side refuse the resolution, we will refer the case to court,” he noted.

James Kuol Deng, a lawmaker who raised the matter criticized Mai, saying the ministry failed to help the 364 national employees who were fired after demanding their rights after being exploited.

While Mai claimed the issue was resolved, the lawmaker said Mai went silent on the matter and it was not actually addressed.

“The employed youth went to raise their complaints with the minister, and he promised them that this problem would be solved, but nothing happened,” Kuol cited.

The fired employees eventually took legal action in court but the case has been adjourned 18 times.

Last year, Mai promised to provide legal documents related to the case to lawmakers for verification.

Following numerous employment complaints, the minister issued a statement directing the 80% domination of the private sector and NGOs by South Sudanese.

Despite orders from Mai last year directing 80% of private sector and NGO jobs to go to South Sudanese, cases of national employee exploitation by foreign employers reportedly remain active.

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