Civil servants reject salaries structure in Bor

By Deng Ghai Deng

Civil servants rejected their salaries and boycotted work on Friday last week in Bor town of Jonglei State.

 However, the civil servants protested against what they said was a failure by the state government to adhere to the new salary structure announced by the National Ministry of Labor and Public Service.

The call came when the Workers Trade Union downed their tools after the government of the State omitted the additional allowances for all civil servants.

Wiyual Gatkuoth, the Jonglei State Minister for Finance said civil servants’ complaints have no basis since the State Government had increased their salaries by 100 per cent according to the order of the President.

“The pledge of the president to increase the salaries was only that your total money which is the net or the gross is one that is multiplied into two, meaning when each employee’s allowance is also multiplied into two and that comprises all the allowances in the payroll making the salary at the end and then you receive it. For example, if the person in grade 5 receives 5,900 inclusive of all the allowance; just multiply the 5,900 into 2 and then it will give your salary, that’s simple arithmetic,” Gatkuoth said.

He added that he was aware of the new salary structure circulated two months ago by the National Ministry of Labor and Public Service which tripled basic salaries of civil servants.

 Gatkuoth said the state officials disregarded it because there were not enough funds to pay for the increment.

“There was a time when the state government decided to give some allowances to the constitutional post holders and we keep this one as it is, so we don’t increase anything out of that. There are some allowances that are actually the privilege to the constitutional post holders, so those allowances were the ones increased but their basic salary remains the same,” Gatkuoth added.

Samuel Majier Loch, the Secretary-General of the Workers Trade Union in Jonglei state said that civil servants walked off the job to protest the state government to modify salary structure, saying it doesn’t correspond with the will of the workers.

Loch said civil servants expected to be paid according to the new salary structure as ordered by the National Ministry of Labor and Public Service in Juba two months ago.

 “The workers’ trade union in the state is demanding for the increase of the salaries, but the government is responding to the will of the civil servants. So we called for a strike and laid down our tools until the government understood our demands. Why are the salaries of the executive increased, if you see the minister receive 470,000 SSP and the cleaners working with the minister receive 1,000 SSP to us that is not humanity, which is not fair.”   Loch said

The new salary structure circulated by the National Ministry of Labor and Public Service multiplies civil servants’ basic salary by 300 per cent.

  Loch said the Jonglei State Executive, including Governor Denay Jock Chagor, Deputy Governor Antipas Nyok Kucha, and State Advisors and Ministers increased their own salaries 300% but did nothing to help ordinary government workers.

He said salaries for constitutional post holders in the state such as the Governor, Deputy Governor, Advisors and Ministers by then ranged between 500,000 SSP to 200,000 SSP while basic salaries of the other government workers ranged between 1,000 to 10,000 South Sudanese Pounds which Loch called discriminatorily.

Ibrahim Dhieu said he boycotted the work that day to push the State officials to respond to the demands of civil servants as the State workers would be left with no option only to hold a public demonstration should the state government fail to resolve the matter.

“It’s our right to call for general allowances to meet our daily needs. There is no difference between a political post holder and a normal [government] worker if you go to Marol Market. The salary of grade 17 cannot even give you one meal, so we call on the government of Jonglei state to sit down with the leaders of the Workers Trade Union to solve this issue amicably. If not we can go for public demonstrations to get our rights,” Dhieu said.

Civil servant John Bior said he was fed up with the way the top government officials ignored the suffering of civil servants.

Bior said that they were not going to work until the government hears what they were saying and does it according to their expectations.

 They were on strike because the Finance Minister had disputed their rights. They had talked to the Minister for two days by then and he disputed it, so they were continuing with the strike unless their rights were heard, Bior said.

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