Judges Suspend Strike; Otafiire Wins Round One

Judicial officers have called off a strike over pay after meeting chief justice Bart Katureebe in a follow-up of a series of meetings.

The strike was called off Wednesday, ending about two weeks of industrial action that halted court business around the country.

Katureebe, Deputy Chief Justice Steven Kavuma, and Principal Judge Yorokamu Bamwiine attended the meeting the Uganda Judicial Officers Association (UJOA) had called to discuss the perks that Justice and Constitutional Affairs minister Kahinda Otafiire had suggested instead of a pay raise.

UJOA unanimously called off the strike and agreed to return to work Wednesday evening.

Association president Godfrey Kaweesa said the suspension of the strike was hinged on government’s commitment to address their concerns.

On Monday, Otafiire said government had resolved to give the striking judicial officers vehicles, guards and office equipment like computers.

Katureebe met the UJOA executive at the High court’s Criminal division to convince them to accept the ‘deal’.

UJOA boss Kaweesa said the negotiations were a success. Although other demands had not been met, he said, low-ranking judicial officers would at least get security and transport means.

So, when the UJOA general assembly sat today, it was just to endorse something the executive had agreed on with Otafiire and Katureebe.

“Tomorrow [meaning today Wednesday] we are going to call a meeting of all UJOA members and we are going to further debate the offer by the minister… I’m very positive that by Thursday, courts around the country will be opened,” Kaweesa said Tuesday.

Government now has up to December 11 to fulfill its promise. The strike is over, at least for now and Otafiire win round one.

It now remains to be seen if government will fulfil its pledge, and if the magistrates will not rise again and demand for higher salaries – after all this was the main demand.

Chief justice Shs 55m per month from Shs 20m
Deputy Chief Justice: Shs 53m from Shs 18m
Principal judge: Shs 50m from Shs 10m
Justice of the Supreme Court: Shs 34m from Shs 9.6m
Justice of the Court of Appeal: Shs 33m from Shs 9.3m
High court justices: Shs 31m from Shs 9m
Chief registrar: Shs 27m from Shs 4.8m
Registrars: Shs 23m
Deputy registrars: Shs 21m
Assistant registrars: Shs 20m from Shs 3.1m
Chief magistrates: Shs 17m from Shs 2.4m
Senior principal magistrates grade one: Shs 14m
Principal magistrate grade one: Shs 14m
Senior magistrate grade one: Shs 13.7m
Grade two magistrate: Shs 13.3m senior principal magistrate grade two: Shs 12.6m

FEATURED IMAGE: UJOA’s Kaweesa addresses the press. PHOTO: COURTESY

Marion Ayebazibwe