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Upper Nile University lecturers also go on strike

Author: Elshiekh Chol | Published: Thursday, December 24, 2020

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

Lecturers at the Upper Nile University have declared a three-day sit-in strike after the Ministry of Higher Education failed to clear their nine months arrears.

The decision was arrived at during the teaching staff’s general assembly on Tuesday

“We have decided to go on three days strike from 28th to 30th, and if we don’t get any response from the Ministry of Higher Education regarding our salaries, then we will call for another general assembly to decide,” the Secretary of the University Staff Association announced.

Dr. Harif Issa stated that the strike is necessary because the government has severally ignored their grievances. The staff accused the Ministry of Higher Education of not responding to their letters of inquiry over pending payments.

“The first letter was on 14th to the Minister of Higher Education but there was no response,” Dr. Issa narrated. “The second letter was on date 21st on the same issue of the salaries because we are demanding salaries of nine months, but again no response.”

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

Two weeks ago, 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-months salary arrears, “including air ticket which has not been paid for this year.”

“Failure to do so, an open strike shall commence,” warned Deng Meen Maker, Secretary of the University Staff Association.

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 prepare to sit for their exams early next month.

“We are not targeting our students but we are placing our concerns to the authorities to settle our dues. If they are able to settle our dues on time, we shall resume with lectures and examinations,” said Joseph Ohure, the Secretary-General of Academic Staff General Assembly, Bahr el Ghazal University.

Two weeks ago, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Juba Professor John Akec told Eye Radio in an exclusive interview that: “We worked for twelve months, we were paid for four months. We have an outstanding eight months not paid in a year from December last year.”

The university Deans’ Board on behalf of the public universities appealed to the Ministry of Higher Education to engage with the Finance Ministry to clear the arrears.

“It is difficult for them to carry on teaching while their families are going wild,” Professor Akec said.

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

The Ministry of Higher Education and that of Finance have consistently remained tight-lipped over payment of the salaries.

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