The dispute between Unamid and striking Sudanese staff members has run up as the mission decries the disruption of operations in El Fasher caused by the strike. “Any action by staff members that may negatively impact mandate delivery or disrupt daily operations, should be avoided.”
'The strike has been accompanied by reports of attempts to disrupt the Mission’s operations by locking entry gates to key areas in the Mission’s headquarters in El Fasher and coercing non-participating staff members as well as individual contractors not to perform their duties,' according to a press statement by the African Union-United Nations peacekeeping mission on Thursday.
Speaking to Radio Dabanga yesterday, the head of the Unamid National Staff Union, Khalil Ismail claimed the reports are “mixed and incorrect”, and attempt to obscure investigation procedures that have been made so far.
“The strikers have not prevented any employee from entering the headquarters of Unamid,” Ismail said, adding that the strike for the payment of salaries will continue until their demands are achieved.
The Sudanese members of the mission's staff started their strike on 28 July to demand, among others, retroactive salary adjustments, which other UN staff on the payroll of the UNDP have benefited from for months.
However, Unamid claims to have implemented the new salary scale of national staff salaries in US Dollars. “All retroactive payments due to staff have been paid in full.”
Ismail explained that in the past, several requests by the union to Unamid were met by “delaying tactics and avoidance of response to our demands”.
Yesterday the mission commented: “Prior to the ongoing strike, Mission leadership extensively engaged national staff representatives to discuss their grievances […] Regrettably, the proposals resulting from these engagements have not been considered by the national staff, who have opted to continue their strike in contravention of their status as international civil servants. ”
Pointing to the obstruction of operations, the mission stressed that 'such actions are in breach of UN rules and regulations as well as staff members’ obligations as international civil servants'. Ismail commented that striking is a guaranteed right in the UN mechanisms and should therefore not be considered a violation or breach of laws.
2,284 national civilian staff are active for the hybrid peacekeeping mission. Unamid further deploys 13,766 military personnel, 1,491 police advisers, 1,811 formed police unit officers, 873 international civilian staff, and 167 United Nations volunteers.