University of Bahr el Ghazal teaching staff declare a strike on 01 December 2022. [Photo: Radio Tamazuj]

Lecturers of Bahr el Ghazal, Upper Nile, and Rumbek universities suspend strike

The teaching staff at the University of Bahr el Ghazal, the University of Upper Nile, and Rumbek University have called off their strike to administer examinations.

The teaching staff at the University of Bahr el Ghazal, the University of Upper Nile, and Rumbek University have called off their strike to administer examinations.

Earlier this month, the lecturers from the three universities went on strike, demanding to be paid enhanced salaries and allowances in line with adjustments for inflation.

The three universities are funded by the government.

The other public higher learning institutions in the country are the University of Juba and Dr. John Garang Memorial University of Science and Technology.

Joseph Lual Dario, the chairperson of the University of Bahr el Ghazal academic staff association, told Radio Tamazuj Monday that last week they agreed with the university administration to suspend the strike to administer examinations starting on 12 December.

“This (Monday) morning, all the teaching staff at the University of Bahr el Ghazal administered examinations as agreed with the administration on 3 December. We resolved that we have to conduct the examinations of the first semester on 12 December,” he said.

Lual, however, insisted that they expect to be paid all their arrears on 3 January 2023.

“3 January 2023 will be the deadline by which we should be paid. We, however, got some positive information from the higher education minister that he tabled our budget to the service cluster, and we were pleased to see this step taken by the minister,” he said. “If the process is put down again, we will not keep quiet; we will also go on with our strike. We just suspended the indefinite industrial action because we want to see the examinations continue and to allow the national government to address our demands.”

In Upper Nile, Dr. Pio Kur, the head of the university’s teaching staff union, said they met with the administration on 5 December and agreed to suspend their strike.

“On 5 December, we had a meeting with the university administration, and they told us that our issue is going to be discussed by the service cluster in Juba on Tuesday,” he said. “Our demand was the issue of arrears from 2019 to 2022, which was approved and not paid to us for three years and the issue of salary structure. We gave the administration two weeks   from 6 to 20 December 2022, and we will go back with the open strike if there is no response from the ministry of higher education.”

Relatedly, the teaching staff representative at Rumbek University, Mathew Malou, on Sunday said a planned meeting with the university administration was postponed due to lack of quorum but that the teaching staff has called off their strike until the 27 December.

“We were supposed to have a meeting on Sunday, but it was postponed because the quorum was not met. The agenda was to confirm whether we go on with the strike or return to work,” he said. “We are meeting on 27 December, but for now, we have called off the strike to administer examinations.”