“Pay Salaries on time, improve working conditions”: South Sudanese Archbishop to Employers

Archbishop Stephen Ameyu of Juba Archdiocese, South Sudan.

On the occasion of the globe celebration of the International Labor Day marked amid restrictions put in place by governments to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, the Archbishop South Sudan’s Juba Archdiocese has called on employers in both public and private sectors to ensure that salaries of employees are paid “at the right time” and that they work with dignity.

“Today (May 1) I kindly request all employers to improve the working conditions of all their employees and give them their salaries at the right time,” the Archbishop of Juba, Stephen Ameyu told journalists Friday, May 1 in South Sudan’s capital on the occasion of Labor Day.

“We remember at least all workers and know the condition of the workers is difficult,” he said adding that these workers have “children and their loved ones who need food, shelter, education and health security.”

Paying salaries on time, the Archbishop said, would enable “employees who have families to care for them.”

Last June, South Sudan’s Parliament postponed the presentation of the budget for 2019/2020 fiscal year after lawmakers stormed out citing unpaid salaries for the army and civil servants.


Since then, the country that recently formed a unity government has been struggling to increase production of crude oil. The country that depends heavily on oil revenue to finance its fiscal budget, currently pumps about 175,000 barrels of crude oil per day.

Economic growth in Africa’s newest nation has also been compromised following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite these challenges, Archbishop Ameyu has called on employers to consider revising salaries upwards “to give at least something our workers are worthy of.”

He said it was in solidarity with employees that he is addressing “the increment in at least salary of the workers.”   

“As the Catholic Church, we are always people who speak of justice, and justice applies to also the salaries of the workers,” he explained.

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The 56-year-old Prelate also called for “mutual respect” between domestic workers and those at the helm of various employing institutions saying, “Laborers should respect their vocations and stick to the code of the institution they are working with; employers should respect their employees because you depend on them for your business.”

Addressing the COVID-19 pandemic in the country, Archbishop Ameyu acknowledged the role of medical professionals and workers in other fields for their noble contribution towards the fight against the spread of the disease.    

“In a special way, I would like to pay tribute to all our front-line staff, nurses, doctors, law enforcement agents, all those who sacrifice their lives to save others; let me sincerely thank you for this noble work,” Archbishop Ameyu said.

“God the Father will reward you for the service to mankind,” he added.

He went on to express concerns that the focus on containing COVID-19 may delay the implementation of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS), which facilitated the formation of a unity government on February 22.


“As we celebrate this day let us be mindful of our situation in Juba,” Archbishop Ameyu said and added, “we are devastated by the pandemic the corona virus which will delay the implementation of the Revitalized Agreement.”

There was a spike in the cases of COVID-19 in South Sudan on April 28, from the six reported in a previous briefing to 34 after 28 more people tested positive for the virus. Since then, 11 more cases have been reporting bringing the total number of COVID-19 cases in the country to at least 45.

The East-Central African nation is yet to report any recoveries from the coronavirus and no one has succumbed to the virus.