National, News

Rumbek University lecturers on strike

By Yang Ater Yang


Lecturers at Rumbek University of Science and Technology (RUST) have announced indefinite sit-down strike, starting Tuesday.

The strike, in response to the Ministry of Finance and Planning’s failure to address demands for unpaid salary arrears and 2019 to 2023, air ticket allowances.

The lecturers run out of patience after waiting for the payments for four months, without success.

Acting Chairperson of the RUST Academic Staff Association,  Khot Manyuon Thuc said a general assembly convened on Sunday to resolve for the industrial action.

“We held a general assembly on Sunday and resolved to strike due to the delayed payment of various salary arrears,” said Lect. Manyuon in a letter seen by this outlet.

“These arrears include June 2023, October to December 2023, and January 2024 salaries, as well as outstanding air ticket allowances from 2019 to 2023” he continued.

The dissatisfied RUST lecturers also raised concerns about the missing September 2023 salary, questioning its whereabouts.

They have been left with no option but to resort to industrial action, as their requests have been ignored for too long.

The strike is likely to cause significant disruptions to academic activities at RUST, potentially impacting students.

It remains unclear how long the strike will last, or if the government will respond to the disgruntled lecturers’ demands.

This is yet another industrial action taken by a public university. Last week employees at the University of Bahr el Ghazal in Western Bahr el Ghazal State also initiated a strike due to non-payment of salaries.

The university workers’ union, also raised concerns about the delay in receiving salaries for the past five months, outstanding medical care and ticket arrears.

Last week, the vice-chancellor of the University of Juba challenged the government against the delayed salaries of civil servants and the organized forces, saying it doesn’t reflect true liberation.

“True liberation is when public sector employees, including ministers, MPs, diplomats, civil servants, doctors and nurses, teachers, and members of organized forces, are paid a living wage regularly, month by month, year on year,” Akec stated

“Until that happens, the country is “not yet uhuru,” he continued.

Meanwhile, Edmund Yakani, the Executive Director of the Community Empowerment and Progress Organization, in an interview with No. 1 Citizen Daily Newspaper concurred with the VC Akec’s sentiments.

Yakani said it is a total failure when a claimed democratic government fails to cater for its citizens.

The CEPO boss echoed that timely salary payments will enable civil servants and the army to devote themselves to national service since their families will have sustained livelihoods to the expectation.

He exclaimed that any corrupt government is subject to the destruction of a democratic nation.

Last year, the government, through the ministry of finance and fiscal planning, increased salaries by 400% but was not able to timely pay them.

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