Magistrates cautioned on strike threat

2013-03-14 22:34

Johannesburg - Magistrates must act with caution before deciding to strike, the Law Society of SA (LSSA) said on Thursday.

"There are many legal professionals who are unemployed or under-employed, and who would gladly accept an opportunity to work as magistrates," LSSA co-chairs Krish Govender and Jan Stemmett said in a statement.

"This should be borne in mind before magistrates attempt to engage in so-called industrial action."

Magistrates should use all mechanisms available to them if there was a dispute.

Striking was unacceptable, Govender and Stemmett said.

The judiciary, of which the magistrates were a major part, was an independent arm of government and there were means to resolve disputes.

The LSSA said the respect with which members of the public looked to judicial officers would be undermined if magistrates went on strike.

Magistrates are demanding a single pay structure for the judiciary: one that would have their salaries and benefits put on the same sliding scale as those of judges.

This could see their salaries increase by almost 100%.

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 it was not properly consulted.

The Association of Regional Court Magistrates of Southern Africa 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.

The Judicial Officers' Association of SA has threatened to bring lower courts to a standstill from Monday.

  • Gwilym John Howes - 2013-03-15 02:38

    Anyone who strikes labels themselves as blue collar union workers. Once magistrates strike, they kiss goodbye to any status as professionals. What a disgrace it will be for the legal profession and for South Africa in general if its judiciary joins the unwashed masses as strikers. Shame on them!

      heinrich.etsebeth - 2013-03-15 12:52

      You only have half the story. The magistrates are sitting with an issue where the powers that be is dragging out the signing of what they have already agreed upon. They are to receive back-pay to the date on which the increases was supposed to take effect. End of this month it will already be a year later and they will lose this back-pay if our president does not sign off on what he agreed to in the first place. This is a case of give us what you agreed to.

  • Jack - 2013-03-15 05:49

    "on the basis that it was not properly consulted." This says it all. Sounds like e-tolls doesn't it? Our civil service is bloated. Take out ten percent who will not work an honest day's work and improve the salaries of the rest. Next years, do the same. Magistrates are professionals, they deserve a professional's salary. As do doctors,, nurses, teachers.

  • Tshireletso Molobi - 2013-03-15 06:46

    I cant imagine a magistrate on a strike. I would loss respect 4 them. Its unprofessional at their level

      heinrich.etsebeth - 2013-03-15 12:53

      It is unprofessional at any level but unfortunately that is the only thing the government seems to listen to.

  • Altus Kirsten - 2013-03-15 07:03

    Strike Africa!

  • arthur.salvado - 2013-03-15 07:12

    It's an African thing to strike but the government also creates the need to in some instances (many) but in this instance, it's not acceptable. Maybe their salary structure DOES need reviewing but to put them on a same scale as judges ? Dream on !

      Theo Joubert - 2013-03-15 08:03

      They are not asking to be put on the same scale as judges. They want their salary structure to be linked to that of Judges. this would put their salary on a sliding scale linked to that of judges. This would give the Judiciary one salary structure.

      heinrich.etsebeth - 2013-03-15 12:54

      Yeah judges gets 20% increase and magistrates gets 6%... how fair do you really think that is.

  • vincent.maadi - 2013-03-15 07:45

    Reduce the salaries of the judges to bring them down to the same levels as the magistrates, the matter will be resolved.

  • Mordikaai Speak - 2013-03-15 08:05

    Those that think it is African to strike need to get educated striking was around long before Africans had any work to strike from.

      Koos van der Merwe - 2013-03-15 08:29

      That could well be but you have to admit that Africans takes to striking like a fish takes to water. Hell this morning we received notification that if the union come we are supposed to “run”. This is because some union leaders got suspension notices because they attacked working people and the public trying to intimidate them and force the closure of offices. Now they threaten to kill. Like I said, like fish to water. I say let them kill each other. This is how it was done for millennia if you read a little history and I don’t think they will change anytime soon.

  • Ricky Singh - 2013-03-18 21:40

    If we can afford R29 billion written off as 'unaccounted for", R200 million for Nkandla and R200 million for SAA,(its like Ripley's believe or not)lol, we can afford to give these hard working and overburdened magistrates an increase.They perform a great duty sticking murderers and criminals away in our lovely jails.

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