MPs to approve magistrates' salary increase

2013-03-13 13:11

MPs are set to approve a 5.5% salary increase for magistrates after condemning their threats to go on strike next week in protest over their pay structure.

Parliament’s portfolio committee on justice today adopted a report recommending the National Assembly ratify the increase recommended by the Commission for the Remuneration of Public Office Bearers last year.

It is expected to do so tomorrow, which will see magistrates paid their increases backdated from April last year.

The magistracy is at odds with the commission and the president on the issue, and has been trying to force a review of the commission’s allocations for the past two years, on the basis that they were not properly consulted.

The Association of Regional Court Magistrates successfully challenged the commission’s 2011 recommendation and won a court order that the president review his decision to approve it.

That matter has now been taken to the Constitutional Court and a ruling is expected soon.

In the meanwhile, the Judicial Officers’ Association of SA, has threatened to bring lower courts to a standstill from Monday.

It said its members – who account for more than half of the country’s roughly 2 000 magistrates – would hear only postponements for a week.

The portfolio committee said in its report today that it takes a “dim view” of what would, in its view, be illegal industrial action.

“This cannot be supported: no matter what the level of frustration, it is unacceptable that the public be disproportionately prejudiced in this way.”

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