National, News

Teachers demand Justice over salary cut

By William Madouk


A cloud of uncertainty looms over the slashed salaries of teachers in Northern Bahr el Ghazal State, as  the state Ministry of Education and the salary payment committee are accused of unfair wage reductions.

A fifth-grade teacher who preferred to remain anonymous for fear of reprisals claims that their July salary scales are significantly lower compared to those of other government institutions and other states.

In a bid to address their concerns, the teachers submitted a petition to the Attorney General, seeking justice and fair compensation.

In response, the Attorney General granted a three-day grace period for the education docket and committee to cooperate and ensure that the teachers receive their rightful wages.

However, when the ultimatum expired on Friday, a dramatic turn of events unfolded.

The committee was prepared to pay the teachers, but the state Ministry of Finance disrupted the arrangement.

“On Friday, the money was out at 1 PM in the Ministry of Education, and the committee members were there. More than 500 teachers were in the compound waiting to receive their money,” the source said.

“Immediately, the minister of finance came while riding on the vehicle of the Aweil South Commissioner and asked the director of finance at the Ministry of Education to give him the money.”

He was persistent, saying, “At that time, the police commissioner came with four land cruisers full of police recruits and was telling us to leave the Ministry of Education compound by force, so he ordered the police to beat and arrest the 300 teachers.”

Although some teachers were released, according to the source, four teachers are at a national security facility under detention.

“We are telling the public and national authorities in Juba that we want the unconditional release of our colleagues; we want them to be released,” he demanded.

He also refuted the claims that teachers were chaotic, citing that it was a concocted system to justify their actions.

Another teacher, called Joseph Alou, in grade 8, said, “They arrested 300 teachers, and 30 teachers were seriously injured from the beating from the police. We are currently protesting and demanding the release of our colleague teachers.”

“We asked the police for the reason for our arrest, but they did not clarify it to us, and now we are calling for their release, and they are dragging feet,” Alou added.

Mr. Alou called on the president and national minister of education to intervene before matters escalate further.

“We communicated with the state government, but we still have not gotten any response up until now, and I am requesting that the national government intervene because this case is now going to get worse and worse,” he appealed.

Tutor Alou clarified that he only received SSP 89,000 for the eighth-grade position, instead of SSP 113,000 for his counterparts in other ministries and states.

“Like here, what I received in grade eight is SSP 89,700, but when we compare it with other ministries within the state here, they are different; grade 8 is supposed to be SSP 113,000. Others in the same grade at state ministries received SSP 113, 000,” he claimed.

“They deducted SSP 20,000, 15,000, and 16,000 from the actual amounts of the teachers,” he continued.

Alou stated that when teachers inquired, they were told it was a slip-up, and as such, they would be paid accordingly.

“We asked them, and they told us that it was a miscalculation that had happened; they said both payroll at the state level and Juba had a miscalculation; now they assured us to pay the remaining money.”

“When the money was brought to us by the committee, the police commissioner and state minister of finance interfered and took away the money.”

He alleged that teachers have been in battle with the issue of salaries being cut from the state ministry of finance and education for almost two years now.

He urged the national minister to fix this matter once and for all.

No. 1 Citizen newspaper made several attempts to obtain comments from key figures involved, including the NBGS police commissioner, Maj. Gen. Philip Madut Tong, and the Director General of the state Ministry of Education, Santino Bol, but the efforts proved unsuccessful.

On Sunday, John Deng, the director general for pensions in the Ministry of Public Service, shed light on the payment issues faced by states, attributing them to problems with inaccurate pay sheets.

He emphasized that any state that failed to provide accurate information caused confusion between the Ministry of Finance and the respective states.

“Any state that did not bring accurate information, I think it caused confusion between the ministry of finance and the states,” he told the No. 1 citizen in a phone interview.




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