UNAMID staff show off placards detailing their demands. Photo/Sudan Tribune

Hundreds of Sudanese staff working for the African Union – United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) went on an open-ended strike over alleged non-payment of accumulated benefits.

The head of the UNAMID National Staff Union Khalil Tkras said that they resorted to the strike strategy as means to pressure on the United Nations and UNAMID to approve the payment of due benefits and to address all the outstanding entitlements, including the risk allowance to be consistent with the increase in salaries in the period from 2012 even in 2015.

Trkas said that their demands include medical insurance, overtime pay, sudanization of jobs, payment of pension benefits in a short period, and to pay additional benefits to the staff members who accomplish additional tasks besides their jobs.

He added they demand the implementation of local staff training budget, especially the external training.

In the past UNAMID Sudanese staff staged similar protests, demanding to be paid in dollars or to recalculate their salaries according to the exchange rates in the parallel market.

In 2012, they went on strike for demands related to benefit entitlements. This year also, the local workers held different protests in El-Fasher, and Zalingei for the same claims.

Last March the mission denied press reports that it had refused to pay the pensions of former Sudanese personnel dismissed for the purpose of internal reorganization.

There are some 2,900 local workers in the hybrid peacekeeping mission which is deployed in Darfur since December 2007. There are nearly 22,000 international military and civil personnel with an annual budget of US$1.35 billion.