Skip to main content
WAU - 6 Feb 2024

University of Bahr el Ghazal staff on strike over unpaid salaries

Employees at the University of Bahr el Ghazal in Western Bahr el Ghazal State have initiated a strike due to non-payment of salaries, which commenced last week.

 In an interview with Radio Tamazuj on Monday with Emmanuel Bol Maker, the Secretary General of the Workers Union, he revealed that the union decided to go on strike last Monday after a general assembly meeting.

The assembly raised concerns about the delay in receiving salaries for the past five months, as well as outstanding medical care and ticket arrears.

“On the 1st of February 2024, during our general assembly meeting, we discussed the prolonged delay in salary payments spanning almost five months. Additionally, we addressed the unresolved issues of ticket arrears and medical allowances dating back to the period between 2021 and 2024,” Maker explained.

He further emphasized that the strike was prompted by the financial challenges faced by teaching staff in enrolling their children in schools.

“The current exacerbation of the situation is mainly due to the prolonged delay in salary payments. With schools now open, it has become a significant concern as 90 percent of the university’s faculty, including lecturers and other staff, have not been able to register their children in schools. This delay is particularly impactful because many individuals in the country rely on private education,” he stated.

Maker underscored the indifference of private schools to the struggles faced by lecturers experiencing salary delays at their workplaces. He explained, “When you approach them with empty hands, the school administration does not permit you to register your child or wait because the absence of your salary is not their concern.”

Due to these challenges, the university staff found it difficult to cope, leading them to resolve to cease their work until they receive their overdue payments. Maker stated, “The University staff finds this situation challenging, and that's why they have decided to go on strike until they are paid.”

Addressing the issue of medical allowances, Maker lamented that three colleagues had lost their lives because they were not compensated for their medical arrears during illness. He provided details, saying, “We lost two professors and one lab technician. All three individuals passed away within a span of two months, with two deaths occurring in December and one in January.”

Highlighting the ongoing strike, Maker noted, “This marks the second week of our strike, lasting seven days. Tomorrow, we plan to issue another warning. If we do not receive our payments, it will significantly impact learning activities at the University.”

He concluded by outlining a potential resolution, stating, “If a solution is reached within one week, we will call off our strike, and we are communicating this to our students.”

Dr. Peter Atem Deng Yom, the acting Vice Chancellor of the University, responded to the workers’ concerns, stating that the administration acknowledges the employees’ position. He revealed that the University is actively collaborating with the national Ministry of Higher Education and the Ministry of Finance to find a resolution.

“I have recently received the position of the trade union, including the resolutions from the general assembly meeting. The workers have presented a single item, a three-day warning from February 1, 2024, to February 6, 2024. If there is no positive response by Tuesday, February 6, they will proceed with a seven-day strike,” Deng explained.

Dr. Deng assured that the University of Bahr el Ghazal is in communication with the national Ministry of Higher Education to expedite the payment of workers’ salaries in the coming days.

“As part of the University’s top administration, I have received positive information from the Ministry of Higher Education, specifically the Director General. The Ministry of Higher Education and the Director of Finance have assured us that the Ministry of Finance is diligently working to settle the salaries as soon as possible, particularly for the month of September,” he said.

The Ministry of Finance could not immediately be reached for comment.