LAB demand pay rise

2008-04-06 00:00

The South African Parastatal and Tertiary Institutions Union (Saptu) demonstrated on the weekend over salaries, which they said are too low to attract legal professionals when in competition with the private sector.

The salaries of legal professionals at the Justice Department and the NPA were upgraded in 2005/2006, but the Legal Aid Board (Lab) has not been given money to provide similar increases for its staff.

A task team has since negotiated increases and back-pay, which was payable from July 1 last year.

“Since this agreement has been reached between trade unions and the employer, which includes the minister of Justice and Public Service, no ministerial determination to implement the new agreed salary dispensation has been signed,” the union said.

Lab employees are increasingly disillusioned amid rocketing inflation, food and petrol price rises.

The limited pool of experienced legal professionals in the country are being lured by private companies, the magistracy and the NPA. This makes it difficult for Lab to offer quality legal services, says Saptu.

The union said the Lab currently delivers legal aid to more than 400 000 people nationally and a strike could increase backlogs in the courts.

ingrido@witness.co.za

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