April 28, 2013 (JUBA) - The Governor of South Sudan’s Warrap state has issued a decree suspending the workers’ trade union, after the latter opposed a decision to cut salaries for a day from all state employees.
- Warrap state Governor Nyandeng Malek speaking to SPLM members in Kwajok, April 14, 2012 (ST/Julius Uma)
Nyandeng Malek, in a decree issued 24 April, also denounced the legality of the workers’ body, which represents over 6,500 employees working within the state government. It was formed in 2009.
The Governor recently ordered that salaries of all civil servants be cut in order to raise money for the upcoming Greater Bahr el Ghazal sports tournament, scheduled for May in Western Bahr el Ghazal state.
But the workers’ trade union, in a strongly-worded letter, opposed the Governor’s decision, describing it as “unconstitutional” and "contrary to the labour laws"
Mabior Awikjok, the Secretary General of the union said Malek’s proposed salary cut was neither discussed by the state council of ministers nor the assembly, thus unsuitable for implementation.
The tournament, he said, was a national programme and wondered why the Governor was mobilising funds from the state levels to fund a national activity.
“Any national programme should be funded by the [central] government and not the state,” Mabior told Sudan Tribune Sunday.
He said the workers’ trade union is an independent body, not created by government, adding that even the Governor “has no right to suspend our activities”.
Attempts by Sudan Tribune to reach the Governor on her known phone numbers proved unsuccessful.
Malek, the only female Governor in the country, is not new to controversy. Last year, she temporarily suspended all UN World Food Programme (WFP) flights in the state, after one of its staff demanded to check her handbag, prior to departure time.
WORKERS TRADE UNION BILL
In his address at the opening of the national assembly last week, South Sudan President, Salva Kiir urged lawmakers to expedite the passing of the Workers Trade Union Bill, among eight other laws.
“First, there are laws and Acts awaiting passage. Some have waited for far too long. This is a key part of your work as legislators, and the nation is depending on your best efforts,” Kiir told MPs.
The other laws to be urgently passed, according to the president, are the Petroleum Revenue Management, Agricultural Bank, Right to Access of Information, Broadcasting Corporation, Media Authority, Advocacy, Pension Scheme, and HIV/AIDS Commission Bills.