JUBA, SEPTEMBER 20, 2023 (SUDANS POST) – At least 70 South Sudanese employees of the Kenyan UAP Insurance Company have complained of unfair treatment, citing their lower pay compared to their foreign colleagues as an example.
The employees, who staged a sit-in at the company premises, alleged that the work environment was unfair and characterized by harassment and mediation. They also claimed that the company ignored their attempts to raise these issues with management, silencing them.
A representative of the staff, who spoke to Sudans Post on condition of anonymity, said they have taken the matter to the national ministry of labor, which will be meeting them and the UAP company management to resolve the problem.
“Working in the Company in the same position as any other, there should be fairness, fairness to what the staff has in his or her capacity according to what he or she contributes, to the overall section of the Company,” he explained.
The staff member said the company has a policy of promoting foreign nationals working in the company but does not do the same for nationals.
“There is a difference between nationals and expatriates. National staff take 10 years and have no progression in terms of promotion, but the expatriate comes as an assistant and then is promoted until they reach a managerial post without doing the same to the junior national staff,” he said.
“So, when they move, they make sure that they groom someone in Nairobi to come and take over until over ten years he goes, that makes the end,” added the source.
The staff member said that the justification given by the management for the promotion of foreign staff is the claim that the national staff do not have the capacity needed for certain positions, a claim the source dismissed as untrue.
He added that the payment is less than a hundred dollars and that national staff are not given benefits when they leave.
“The payment is less than a hundred dollars, though they introduce allowances which are also less. We are paid less while these expatriates are paid higher than us,” he said.
“Many of us who are terminated are gone without benefits, but when Kenyan expatriates go out, they have their benefits in place,” the source added.
He also mentioned that they have given the authorities enough time, but they have not responded to them.
“A lot has caused fear within the staff that you cannot mention your issues affecting us, because when you talk, you suspect you will be dismissed or threatened, so you have to protect yourselves,” the staff member said.
The source stated that after failing to get a response to their grievances from their direct supervisors, they took the matter further to the company board, which the staff said has also failed to produce any remedy to the problems they raised.
“Then they responded that they couldn’t do anything, so we came and thought okay then what is next, we came and said the board, so we forwarded it to the board around May, so the board responded that they would deliberate on it in June,” he said.
“Since then, they didn’t get back to us, we reminded again telling them we are still waiting for their feedback until now. This prompted us to have this sit-down strike until our issues are resolved. We then again wrote to them that we need this to be resolved so we can have peace of mind to work, but they ignored it,” he concluded.
Sudans Post attempts to reach the UAP management were unsuccessful.
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