Kampala — All judicial officers will from today stay away from courtrooms following last evening's announcement by their association leadership, citing unresolved welfare issues by government.
According to the president of Uganda Judicial Officers Association (UJOA) Godfrey Kaweesa, the government has not come out with a clear plan to address their welfare issues as agreed a month ago, prompting them to strike.
"Since government has not addressed our issues as promised by the deadline date, we have decided to lay down our tools until action is taken," Mr Kaweesa said last evening.
About a month ago, judicial officers right from the appellate court down to the lower magistrates courts, converged in Kampala in an extra general assembly and voted to lay down their tools by August 23 if their biting welfare issues were not addressed.
The five key areas that more than 400 judicial officers want government to address are salary increment, provision of vehicles to enhance land justice, medical insurance, housing and security.
As the leadership of the judicial officers announced the strike, the chief registrar, Mr Paul Gadenya in a statement, asked fellow judicial officers to continue presiding over cases as negotiations continue.
"This is, therefore, to appeal to you to continue discharging your judicial functions without interruption as we collectively work towards improving the terms and conditions of service," Mr Gadenya said in a statement last evening.
Equally, two days ago, Chief Justice Bart Katureebe pleaded with the judicial officers to remain calm as the Judiciary and the Judicial Service Commission sort out their welfare grievances.
"The top management of the Judiciary met on Tuesday August and considers the matter. Our advice to you all judges and judicial officers is that it would be ill-advised at this time to proceed with industrial action," Chief Justice Katureebe said.
Payments. The judicial officers want the highest ranking officer (Chief Justice) to be earning a monthly pay of Shs55m and the lowest ranking judicial officer (Grade Two magistrate) be earning Shs11m.
Demands. The five key areas that more than 400 judicial officers want government to address are salary increment, provision of vehicles to enhance land justice, medical insurance, housing and security.