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Upper Nile University staff threaten ‘industrial action’ if arrears not paid

Author: Emmanuel Joseph Akile | Published: Friday, January 8, 2021

Upper Nile University-Malakal branch. (Courtesy/Gurtong)

Lecturers and other staff of Upper Nile University have threatened to again go on strike next week if the government fails to pay them within 7 days.

They want their seven months’ salary. They also demanding what they call “annual ticket allowances.”

The decision was arrived at during the teaching staff’s general assembly meeting on Thursday, January 7.

The back-payments are for April and May during the financial year 2019/2020.

Others are from August, September, October November and December for financial year 2020/2021 as per the decision of the “Council of Ministers [on] new salary structure.”

The nearly 370 employees say they will resort to strike because the government has severally ignored pleas to address their grievances.

In case the government did not fulfil the payment…we are going to lay down our tools from Monday 11th this month, 2020 for seven days,” reported Dr. Pio Kut Deng, chairperson of Upper Nile University Academic Staff Association.

The staff accused the Ministry of Higher Education of not responding to their letters of inquiry over the pending payments.

“After that, if we are not going to receive our salary and the annual ticket, we are going for industrial actions, which will be a strike and it will be open,” Dr. Kut told Eye Radio on Wednesday.

This is the fourth public university to declare its intention for a general strike in the country.

Last month, lecturers at the University of Bahr el Ghazal in Wau went on strike over unpaid eight month’s salary.

The teaching staff at the Rumbek University of Science and Technology also declared a sit-in strike over non-payment of nine-month salary arrears, “including air ticket which has not been paid for 2020.”

The remaining public university—Dr. John Garang Memorial University in Bor, Jonglei state is yet to declare a strike.
These strikes are happening as students in all the five public universities are said to be preparing for their exams this month.

According to the new salary structure for public university lecturers approved by the Council of Ministers in July 2019, a professor receives over SSP 500,000 and a technician earns over SSP 100,000 per month.

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