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Sudan Tribune

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South Sudan forms Workers Trade Union for ten states

August 26, 2010 (JUBA) – Representatives from the ten states of Southern Sudan came to Juba for the first general convention to form a Southern Sudan Workers Trade Union, the Juba-based Pioneer weekly independent newspaper has reported.
The Union’s objective is to look into the welfare of workers as well as facilitation of trade in all the ten states of the region. Hundreds of delegates and senior government officials were gathered at Nyakuron Cultural Center for the conference.

“The Union is a very important tool that would build relationship between the workers and the government,” said Mannasseh Lomule, Deputy Governor of Central Equatoria state. He further added that workers trade union promotes and protects workers’ interests and increases their welfare and bargaining power on equal footing.

After passing its constitution, the ten states delegates of the Southern Sudan Workers Trade Union elected as their Chairman Mr. Deng Bol Jaak from Nasir County of Upper Nile state.

“We were desperate to have an elected body we can talk to and therefore needed a robust foundation and structure in order to carry out the actual tasks of a trade union,” said Anja Dargatz, of Friedrich Ebert Foundation, a German non-governmental organization.

The Union formation, though legally enshrined in the interim constitution of Southern Sudan, would now mean that the government is expected to formulate laws and policies that would regulate the activities of workers’ union both at local and international levels.

“These laws must conform to the international laws so that the union is not affected like the Sudan national football team in FIFA [Federation of International Football Association], said the Vice President, Dr. Riek Machar Teny, who attended the conference on behalf of the President, Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit.

Machar added that the law that was going to be enacted would be democratic and flexible to allow room for dialogue between the Union and the government. The Vice President assured the Union that the government will create a favorable climate that would enable its members deliver their services to the people.

It is widely believed that workers’ rights have been trampled on in the ten states of Southern Sudan. It is alleged that many workers have been unfairly treated by their unnamed employers. According to these claims employers reportedly used to dismiss their workers arbitrarily and without being paid their post-service benefits.

(ST)