Judges, magistrates and judicial support staff threaten industrial action over pay
Kampala, Uganda | GODFREY SSALI | Judges, magistrates and judiciary support staff have threatened to down their tools, giving government a one month ultimatum to increase their salaries.
They are also demanding that their conditions of service be harmonized with that of other public officers in the other two arms of government.
Under their umbrella association, the Uganda Judicial Officers Association (UJOA), they announced their impending industrial action at an extraordinary general meeting at the High Court in Kampala.
According to the president of the association, also Iganga Chief Magistrates Godfrey Kaweesi, the judiciary are well below the top earners in semi-autonomous parastatals and entities in Uganda.
He said the association had written to the minister of justice and constitutional affairs about five (5) key areas, which if addressed by government, shall have the effect of stimulating the administration of justice in Uganda.
They mentioned salary increment, transport to enhance land justice, medical insurance, housing and security.
“A great majority of judicial officers suffer from different ailments associated with prolonged sitting, writing, overworking, without a judiciary Health Club to exercise,” said Kaweesi after the meeting on Friday.
Kaweesi said that medical insurance must be provided to all judicial officers if court performance is not be affected.
Kaweesi further added that salary scale in Uganda does not reflect the national order of precedence.
“Pursuant to Article 109, of the 1995 constitution and particular consideration of the National Order of precedence , the Chief Justice, Deputy Chief Justice, Principle Judge, Justices and Judges of the court of judicature are well above other civil servants to it Bank of Uganda Governor and Executive Directors of parastatal organizations in Uganda,” stated Kaweesi, adding that “The salary structure therefore must reflect that status.”
The judicial officers are proposing that their salaries be revised accordingly.
They want the salary of the Chief justice increased from sh20million to 55 million.
The minister of justice and constitutional Affairs Maj .Gen.Kahinda Otafiire who attended the meeting appealed to the judges and magistrates to reconsider their move of going for an industrial action.
He said government needs more time to look into their demands and that a month was a short time.
“Even if there is money, I have to first write to the ministry of finance on a possibility of a supplementary budget. Don’t push me to tell you lies,” said Otafiire.
This comes just days after government averted another strike by the state prosecutors under the office of the Director of Public Prosecution by agreeing to increase their salaries.
Chief justice increased from sh20million to 55 million.
Deputy Chief Justice – 18M to 53M
Principle Judge – 10m to 50M
Justices of the Supreme Court – 9M to 34M
Justices of the Court of Appeal – 9M to 33M
High Court Judges – 9m to 31m
Chief Registrar – 4M to 27M
Registrars – 4m to 23m
Assistant Registrars – 3m to 20m
Chief Magistrates – 2.8m to 17m
Principal Magistrates Grade one – 2.4m to 14m
Senior Principle Magistrate Grade one 2.4M to 14m
Principle Magistrate Grade One 2.1m-14m
Senior magistrate Grade one 1.5m to 13M
Magistrate Grade one 1.2m-13m
Senior Principle Magistrate Grade Two 1.5m-12m