The Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Kahinda Otafiire, has requested all judicial officers to end their industrial strike and return to work as government harmonises all workers’ salaries.
Otafiire made the appeal on Monday while addressing the media about salaries of judicial officers at Uganda Media Centre.
He said Cabinet asked public service for a pay structure which is to be completed. The comprehensive pay policy will harmonise salaries across government departments.
According to Otafiire, this comprehensive pay across government will be concluded in October 2017 based on equity, sustainability and affordability.
The bill is before Cabinet and almost complete. There are few things that were to be finished and by next week, they might be.
“We therefore ask them to return to work, immediately,” he said.
He added: “This will address pay disparities and salary enhancement in government based on equity, adequacy, affordability and sustainability.”
Otafiire clarified that there will be no salary increment before the salary harmonisation exercise.
He said government has agreed to give judicial officers security, transport and office equipment to end strike which kicked off last month.
“I appeal to judicial officers to return to work. We are providing transport, security and office equipment immediately.”
According to the current pay structure, the chief justice earns Shs 20m, his deputy Shs 18m and the principal judge Shs 10m while a Supreme court judge earns Shs 9.6m and a judge of the Court of Appeal/Constitutional court gets Shs 9.3m. A High court judge earns Shs 9m.
Grade II magistrates earn Shs 737, 837, a month, senior grade II magistrates (Shs 860, 810), principal magistrate Grade II (Shs 1.2m), magistrate grade I (Shs 1.5m) and principal magistrate grade I (Shs 2.1m).
A senior principal magistrate grade I gets Shs 2.2m, chief magistrate (Shs 2.4m), assistant registrar earns Shs 3.1m and chief registrar earns Shs 4.8m.
UJOA now wants the pay to be revised as follows: chief justice to earn Shs 55m, his deputy Shs 53m, the principal judge 50m, justices of the Supreme court (who are seven) each to earn Shs 34m, justices of the Court of Appeal (who are 13) each to earn Shs 33m, Justices of the High court (who are 47) to earn Shs 31m each.
The chief registrar who is one, to earn Shs 27m, registrars (who are three) to earn Shs 23m, deputy registrars (who are 29) to earn Shs 21m, assistant registrars (who are 12) to earn Shs 20m, chief magistrates (who are 44) to earn Shs 17m, senior principal magistrate grade one, (their numbers are not stated since the positions are vacant) to earn Shs 14m each, principal magistrate grade I (who are four) to earn Shs 14m, senior magistrate grade I (who are three) to earn 13.7m, grade I magistrate (who are 187) to earn Shs 13.3m and senior principal magistrate Grade II to earn Shs 12.6m.
If government agrees to the above proposed salary structure, it would pay Shs 95 billion per year on salaries of judicial officials, up from Shs 14 billion.
They also propose that magistrates must have drivers who are paid Shs 500,000 per month. They also want a monthly fuel allowance of Shs 2m.
And in the aftermath of the murders of former police spokesperson, Andrew Felix Kaweesi, and Senior Principal State Attorney Joan Kagezi, they suggested that every judicial officer should get bodyguards.