Operations at Coop Bank come to stand-still

Some of the disgruntled staff after speaking to journalists

yesterday (Photo: Kidega Livingstone)

By Kidega Livingstone

Normal operations at Cooperative Bank of South Sudan were disrupted as national staff started a country wide strike, demanding for improved salaries and working conditions.

The over 130 national staff nationwide threatened not to return to work until the management respond to their demands.

Last evening, the management of the bank issued a press statement over the matter. The statement dated 27th February 2019 says, “To the members of the press, we the management of Co-operative Bank of South Sudan are cognizant of the information that is flowing to the general public concerning the institution.”

We want to tell the general public that the bank is addressing some internal issues with its staff and is positive that these will be resolved soon.

We want to assure our customers that our impeccable banking services are available at our branches in Juba Town and at Kololo on Ministries road.

End of statement”

Earlier, the bank’s managing Director; Mr. Elijah Wamalwa confirmed to Juba Monitor that they were in discussion with the 130 local employees with an aim of finding a lasting solution to the problem.” It is not our wish to engage with our staff in any dispute that can be internally solved. The economic situation equally dictated to some of the problems”, promising to up-date customers appropriately.

There were few staff and slow flow of work in most of the branches, our reporter observed yesterday.

The striking staff demanded for salary increment, medical insurance and welfare of the employees as well as improvement of general working condition.

Speaking to Journalists yesterday, one of the employees said their salary cannot sustain their families in a month.

He said the national staff had started negotiation with the management since the economic crisis started hitting the country but there was no positive response.

The staff, he said will continue with the strike in case the bank’s management did not respond to their demands.

The striking employees said they had delegated a team to negotiate for salary increment of 150 percent but the Bank’s management requested for more time which elapsed some months ago.

“We feel that we are working for free because money cannot sustain us and our family especially during this crisis,” the disgruntled employees said.“We tried some other alternatives but it could not work. We tried our best to negotiate with the management but no any positive result,” he added.

“If there is nothing, we shall continue with our strike because as an employee, you need to get reasonable (salary). We don’t want to keep silent because we are not comfortable with our salary scale,” he added.

Meanwhile one of the employees, who preferred anonymity, told Juba Monitor that she could not meet her family’s demands.She said her family in East Africa was demanding money for feeding and school fees which she could not meet out of her monthly salary.

“It was very unfortunate that we started demanding for salary increment long time during the crisis because the salary is not enough.We the national staff are suffering because some of us have their families in Uganda who need assistance,” she said.

“As long as they will not respond to our demand, we shall not go back for work,” she added.

Mr.Wamalwa said they were going to dialogue with the national staff in order for them to return to work.

“We are already in a discussion with our staff for a good thing. We want them to come back because we work together as sisters and brothers for the development of these two countries,” said Wamalwa.

He said foreign staff were getting good money because they had negotiated with the management of the main Branch in Kenya to be paid in Kenyan Shillings.

Mr. Wamalwa assured the clients that all branches of the bank across the country were opened and clients were able to be served.


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