Today's Labour News

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newsSunday Times reports that an organisation representing about 800 of SA’s magistrates is mulling whether to challenge their conditions of service and strike if their long-standing grievance over their salaries is not resolved before the end of the parliamentary term next month.

The Judicial Officers Association of SA (Joasa) has written to parliament’s presiding officers expressing frustration over the Independent Commission for the Remuneration of Public Office Bearers dragging its feet on a review for magistrates. In addition, the Association of Regional Magistrates of Southern Africa is suing the remuneration commission, President Cyril Ramaphosa and parliament for the failure to take into account the changing role, status and duties of magistrates when making annual recommendations over their salaries, allowances and benefits. Both organisations accuse the commission, which has to report to the President, of delaying this “major review” despite the changes in their functions and jurisdictions. The last review in respect of magistrates was in 2004, and its recommendations were implemented in 2008. In his letter dated 15 April 2024, Joasa’s Neelan Karikan wrote: “Our members are seriously concerned about the commission’s confused state of mind, and their ability to resolve their own findings in the 2007/08 review reports where they conceded the salary gap between the lowest level judge and highest level magistrate is too wide and that pay lines are to be developed on a sliding scale, with a uniform remuneration structure including benefits and conditions for the entire judiciary.” He said that there were senior prosecutors in regional and district courts who were earning about R1.8m a year while magistrates earned just over R1m. Karikan indicated that while magistrates were not allowed to strike as they provided an essential service, Joasa members have been calling for industrial action as a last resort, even though to do that “means there is immense risk.”

  • Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Andisiwe Makinana at Sunday Times (subscriber access only)

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