25 Oct 2020


KCB National Staff Strike Enters Second Week

Kenya Commercial Bank South Sudan’s national staff strike has entered the second week after talks with the bank’s management stalled.

KCB National Staff Strike Enters Second Week
KCB headquarters in Buluk. [Photo by Jale Richard]

By Jale Richard

JUBA, 31 January 2018 [Gurtong]-The KCB national staff association started an open strike on January 23rd, demanding increase of salaries to match the ever increasing commodity prices in the market.

The Chairperson of KCB national staff association, Paul Ajok told Gurtong today that they have resolved to continue with the strike since their dialogue with the bank’s management has been unsuccessful.

“We are still on strike, we had a big assembly today and the strike is still ongoing. We have not agreed on anything,” Ajok said.

“The discussions we had did not bear any fruits, they just asked us to go back to work but they keep on promising which takes a long time. So the staff refused to work until that time comes because there was no offer,” he added.

According to Ajok, out of the 196 national staff of KCB country wide, over 160 of them are on strike.

This is the second strike in two years by the local staffs demanding for increase of salaries. In February 2016, the local staffs also demanded for increase of their salaries by 600% following the devaluation of the SSP in 2015.

South Sudan economy continues to dwindle with the local currency trading at 21,000 for 100 dollars in the black market which has forced market prices to continue increasing. According to the staff, a teller gets paid about 3,000 South Sudanese Pounds plus some allowances.

A member of the national staff association, Peter Ajak told journalists when announcing the strike on January 23rd that the strike is a continuation of the previous one they had in 2016 since the management of KCB did not meet their previous demands.

He said after the local currency was devaluated in 2015, a few expatriates, mostly Kenyans’ salaries were adjusted automatically to the devaluation multiplier by 600 percent but the local staff’s salaries were not adjusted.

“We are demanding for our rights because the standard of living in Juba is becoming costly, and our children are not studying and we cannot continue with life this way” Ajak said. “We want the management of KCB bank to look in to our issue so that they give us commensurate payment so that we continue to support our families,” he added.

Ajak said because of their demand for increase of salaries, they are facing threats of being laid off. “At the moment we are under threat, we are being fired every time and communications are not all that friendly,” he said.

However, the bank continues to operate with mostly the foreign staff working at the headquarters in Buluk and other branches except in Juba Town, Malakal, and Nyakuron branches.

The banks management was not immediately available for comments about the strike.

Sarah Kot who works at customer care unit at Buluk Branch said they are striking because their management is not feeling the crisis the country and its citizens are facing.

“Our salaries cannot take us the whole month, we have been striking all these years hoping that the management would listen to us but nothing has been done,” she said. “We are striking so that if they have human heart, they will help our situation,” she added.

She said with the salary they receive, they cannot take their children to school and support their extended families.
“Since we work as bankers, our families expect us to do more for them because they think we have the money yet what we receive cannot support our own families,” she said.  “Even those of you if you come and work here, you will just resign and go home,” she added.

The striking staff said as long as the management increases their salary, they will immediately resume work.


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