The dismissed security guards of the World Food Programme (WFP) in North Darfur continued their protest in which they have closed the organisation’s office in El Fasher for the seventh consecutive day. The former guards have demanded compensation for their unpaid work hours and arbitrary dismissal in 2011 for the past ten years.
The former security guards originally organised a sit-in that continued for more than three months in protest of the programme’s failure to respond to their demands for financial compensation after what they described as their unfair and arbitrary dismissal by the program since June 2011 and their replacement by security companies.
For the past seven days, the dismissed guards have prevented WFP staff from entering the office to carry out their work.
The Wali of North Darfur, Nimr Abdelrahman, criticised the closure and the fact that it prevents WFP employees from doing their work.
In a press statement after a joint meeting with the WFP country director and the Commissioner-General of the Humanitarian Aid Commission in Khartoum yesterday, he said that the sit-in had turned violent and called on the protesters to allow employees into the office.
WFP Country Director Eddie Rowe said that his organisation is making efforts to address the issue of the former employees and that the Wali had promised to talk with the former employees to persuade them to open the office again.
He further said that the WFP had agreed to investigate the issue but that it takes a long time.
160 guards were dismissed in North Darfur alone. They were working in the offices of El Fasher, Kutum, and Kabkabiya.
The total number of security guards who were dismissed in the Darfur region is roughly 600. The dismissed employees are demanding payment for their overtime hours, overnight allowance, compensation for unfair dismissal, and an allowance for official holidays.
'For the past ten years we have been knocking on all doors but we did not get any response'
Additionally, they demand reparation and compensation after being ignored and dismissed for ten years. The former employees explained that for the past ten years they have been ‘knocking on all doors’ but did not receive a response from the UN organisation.
This is not the first time the former employees have organised a protest. In 2018, one of them told Radio Dabanga: “For the sixth time in seven years, we publicly oppose the arbitrary dismissals and demand the payment of our financial entitlements”.
He explained that the dismissed employees “have tried all legal steps for six consecutive years. The absence of any reply prompted us to take to the streets to demand our legitimate rights”.