UNMISS SRSG Hilde Johnson with members of the UNMISS National Staff Union and national staff at a meeting in Juba.[UNMISS | Public Information Office]
By Francis Apiliga Lagu
JUBA, 17 August 2012 [Gurtong] - This follows the United Nations’ national staff’s peaceful protest on Monday in which they demanded to be paid in US dollars like their international colleagues.
“We are in the same boat. We very much appreciate the impact of the economic situation on our South Sudanese colleagues. We greatly value and respect the national staff”, A UNMISS press note released after the meeting quoted Ms. Johnson.
The protesters also called for the termination of contracts of foreigners working in UN as national staff and also accused some of their international colleagues of mistreatment.
Ms. Johnson, who is also the head of UNMISS told the national staff that the UN Country Team is exerting efforts to address the various concerns raised by the United Nations National Staff Federation (UNSF).
“We are committed to support our national staff during this difficult period that South Sudan is experiencing, and will continue to work closely to find a viable solution. We have listened carefully and engaged in an open debate on all issues the staff has raised,” she added.
The SRSG said the senior leadership understands and sympathizes with the legitimate concerns of the national staff.
She urged them to understand that there are some limitations that would hinder the full realization of the demands.
The UNSF acting chairman Juma Samuel Kamsin said a team from the UN headquarters is expected in South Sudan to assess the demands of the national staff.