A position paper drawn by the country’s Labour Court judges has exposed the meager earnings of the judicial officers who for a long period have been protesting against poor working conditions.
The position paper which was served on the Judicial Services Commission (JSC) and seen by Radio VOP show that High Court judges are currently earning $2 425 per month while Labour Court judges earn $1 950.
The salary disparity has irked Labour Court judges who are now demanding that their working conditions be reviewed and salaries be increased and backdated to August last year to match those of High Court judges because the country’s new Constitution adopted last year places them at the same level with High Court and Administrative Court judges.
The Labour Court judges argued that Section 329 of the country’s Constitution states that; “Every person who, immediately before the effective date, presided over the Labour Court or the Administrative Court becomes a judge of the Labour Court or Administrative Court, as the case may be, on the same conditions as may apply on that date to judges of the High Court, his or her length of service as a president of the Labour Court or the Administrative Court being deemed to be service as a judge of the High Court.”
The judges said an interpretation of Section 18 (6) of the sixth schedule of the Constitution warrants that they be paid back pay which should be calculated with effect from the date of appointment of each judicial officer.
Apart from increasing their salaries, the Labour Court judges also want the JSC to allocate them two vehicles, a Discovery and a Mercedes Benz per each judge to match their counterparts at the High Court.
“One of the conditions of service for judges of the Labour Court is the provision of motor vehicles. To date the condition has not been attended to,” reads part of the position paper.The Labour Court judges also want the JSC to authorise them to be allowed to wear robes for ceremonial and official court purposes just like what High Court judges do.