Jonglei State Minister for Labour and Public Service Rachael Nyandak Paul. [Gurtong| Gabriel Mayom]
By Gabriel Mayom
BOR, 09 August 2012 [Gurtong] – The State Ministry of Labour and Public Service Rachael Nyandak Paul wrote a letter to all private companies, UN agencies, international and local NGOs to make payments in hard currency effective August.
"It has come to our attention that international organisations and agencies are paying the national staff in local currency. This is a clear violation of the universal declaration of human rights. It is unfair to pay the national staff with local currency while their staff are paid in hard currency”, says the Ministry.
The letter obtained by press indicated that the deadline for the exercise will be two weeks starting from Monday 6 August.
The letter said that ‘you are kindly requested to comply with this order and failure to do so then; the law will take its course’.
The directive was in reference to an order from the Central government issued in May which instructed all states to ensure that the local staffs are paid hard currency to correspond with the foreign employees.
The minister also warned development agencies in the state for terminating contracts of national staffs without sharing the information with the government.
“Unfair termination of contracts should immediately” said Nyandak.
There is was comment obtained from the agencies working in the area about the new directive.
In May, employers were directed to adhere to new employment terms and conditions.
The South Sudanese Ministry of Labour, Public Service and Human Resource Development said that the areas of concern included working hours, overtime, unfair termination of contracts and tax levied on terminal benefits, numbers of national staff in management positions and staff association.
Others include sick leaves, contribution towards the National Social Insurance Fund and payment of salaries.
The Undersecretary for Labour and Industrial Relations in the Ministry Hellen Achiro Lotara had directed that employees are expected to work for eight hours a day between Monday and Friday, with Saturday and Sunday as resting days.
"Any hour worked beyond eight hours should be considered as overtime which is compensated either in monetary terms or in kind", said the May release.
The Ministry further directed that no employer will be allowed to terminate any contract of an employee without prior approval from the labour office either at the state or national level.
The Ministry has also expressed concerns with the absence of South Sudanese in key management levels, saying it leaves a gap to enforce policies and regulations of the Republic of South Sudan.
The ministry has also cautioned employers against victimising staff who join trade unions formed to promote their rights and interests.