, KHARTOUM, Sep 6 – Sudanese civilian staff in the world’s largest peacekeeping operation have staged a strike over wages, the mission said on Thursday, as the country’s economy faces a sinking currency and steep inflation.
“UNAMID’s national staff held yesterday a strike”, the African Union-UN Mission in Darfur said, without specifying exactly how many of the roughly 2,900 local workers took part in the job action.
It said local employees received a pay increase earlier this year but “consider the increase as insufficient and demand to be either paid in US dollars or to have their salaries recalculated according to the June 2012 exchange rate.”
Sudan’s currency has plunged in value on the black market since Khartoum lost its largest source of hard currency in July 2011 when South Sudan separated with roughly 75 percent of the unified country’s oil production before independence.
Trying to address the fiscal imbalance, Khartoum in June announced a series of measures including a devaluation of the pound from 2.70 per dollar to a range up to 5.30 pounds per dollar.
The new rate is nearer the black market price which is around six pounds for one US dollar.
Sources familiar with the situation said UNAMID is still paying its staff in Sudanese pounds at the old exchange rate of around 2.70.