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Teachers in South Darfur call open-ended strike over salaries

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November 17, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – Teachers in the locality of Tulus in South Darfur state went on an open-ended strike over what they say is failure by the government to pay their salaries for October and settle financial arrears for several years.

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EU ambassador to Sudan Tomas Ulicny visits Hay El Nahda Basic School for Boys in South Darfur capital Nyala on 5 November 2014 (Photo courtesy of UNICEF)

The states of North Darfur, South Darfur, and East Darfur have seen frequent teachers’ strikes in the recent months for reasons related to outstanding financial obligations.

Last August, teachers in South Darfur went on a three-week strike over salary arrears since 2007 which amounted to 41 million pounds (SDG).

The strike was lifted upon firm pledges from the Ministry of Finance that teachers will receive 50% of their unpaid salaries by mid-October. However, the government has yet to meet its pledges.

The chairman of the teachers’ union in Tulus locality, Mohamed Yacoub, told Sudan Tribune that the government failed to pay teachers salaries for October, stressing that the government is not serious about meeting its pledges towards teachers.

An informed source has underscored that the teachers’ union will not lift the strike unless the government immediately pays teachers’ salaries and implement the agreement signed between the state workers’ trade union and the ministry of finance.

The same source added that the locality suffers from a constitutional vacuum due to the absence of the commissioner and executive director which exacerbated the already complex situation, pointing that poor conditions experienced by teachers discourages them from delivering their best efforts to improve education in the state.

Sudan Tribune recalls that the government of South Darfur state also failed to pay the monthly salaries of its employees for October due to budget deficit.
The state governor, Adam Jar al-Nabi, said his government continues to be unable to come up with the first section of the budget related to wages which amounts to 5 million Sudanese pounds (SDG), leading to a delay in the payment of salaries of government employees in ten localities.

However, some observers argue that the first section of the state’s budget is funded by the federal government, expressing fears that the state’s government is allocating employees’ money for other purposes.

South Darfur state, which includes 21 localities and employs 28,000 employees, lost most of its revenues due to the volatile security situation.

Since last July, the government of South Darfur state imposed an indefinite emergency order, including a curfew in the capital Nyala from 7pm to 6am.

Armed guns are used to assault banks and business stores in the state capital, besides attacks on civilian and commercial convoys.

The state also suffers from lack of development projects particularly the capital Nyala which lives in almost permanent darkness due to power outages besides the severe shortage in drinking water as well as poor health and education services.

(ST)

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