Judges and magistrates under the Uganda Judicial Officers Association (UJOA) are set to lay down their tools again over salary increment.
In a statement issued yesterday evening (August 24) by UJOA president Godfrey Kaweesa, the judicial officers resolved on Tuesday this week to go on an indefinite strike starting today, August 25 if the government fails to comply with their genuine and humble demands.
In their statement, all members of UJOA are ordered not to report to work and if any member violates this directive he\she shall be deregistered because the Industrial action applies to all members.
About a month ago, before ending their week-long strike, the judicial officers issued a 30-day ultimatum to government to increase their salary or else they lay down tools.
Further, the statement says, judicial officers in possession of government property including cars should hand them over.
The statement adds that “UJOA shall remain open to discussion at all times provided that the same shall promote the welfare of judicial officers”.
However the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) is opposed to the industrial action, advising the judicial officers to exhaust the first two options – negotiations and legal action.
According to a statement from JSC, the Chief Justice Bart Katureebe, who is also the patron of UJOA says he is not satisfied that the negotiations and legal action courses have been exhausted for UJOA to go the last resort, industrial action.
According to the current pay structure, the chief justice earns Shs 20m, his deputy Shs 18m and the principal judge Shs 10m while a Supreme court judge earns Shs 9.6m and a judge of the Court of Appeal/Constitutional court gets Shs 9.3m. A High court judge earns Shs 9m.
Grade II magistrates earn Shs 737, 837, a month, senior grade II magistrates (Shs 860, 810), principal magistrate Grade II (Shs 1.2m), magistrate grade I (Shs 1.5m) and principal magistrate grade I (Shs 2.1m).
A senior principal magistrate grade I gets Shs 2.2m, chief magistrate (Shs 2.4m), assistant registrar earns Shs 3.1m and chief registrar earns Shs 4.8m.
UJOA now wants the pay to be revised as follows: chief justice to earn Shs 55m, his deputy Shs 53m, the principal judge 50m, justices of the Supreme court (who are seven) each to earn Shs 34m, justices of the Court of Appeal (who are 13) each to earn Shs 33m, Justices of the High court (who are 47) to earn Shs 31m each.
The chief registrar who is one, to earn Shs 27m, registrars (who are three) to earn Shs 23m, deputy registrars (who are 29) to earn Shs 21m, assistant registrars (who are 12) to earn Shs 20m, chief magistrates (who are 44) to earn Shs 17m, senior principal magistrate grade one, (their numbers are not stated since the positions are vacant) to earn Shs 14m each, principal magistrate grade I (who are four) to earn Shs 14m, senior magistrate grade I (who are three) to earn 13.7m, grade I magistrate (who are 187) to earn Shs 13.3m and senior principal magistrate Grade II to earn Shs 12.6m.