Magistrates call off strike

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The parties negotiating the case of striking magistrates agreed yesterday to urge the judicial officers to call off the nationwide industrial action while salary negotiations continue.

The Judicial Service Commission (JSC), the Magistrates’ Association of Zimbabwe (MAZ) and the Chief Magistrate’s Office issued a joint statement yesterday acknowledging the deadlock, but urged the judicial officers to return to work.

The joint statement read in part: “Negotiations between the JSC, MAZ and Chief Magistrate’s Office are continuing. We wish to notify the nation that magistrates, being judicial officers, remain deeply touched by the plight of the general public who have been prejudiced by the impasse between us.

“Taking this into consideration, the JSC, MAZ and Chief Magistrate’s Office are urging all magistrates to return to work while negotiations continue. All magistrates are therefore urged to return to work as soon as possible.”

Asked to comment as to how soon they expected the magistrates to report for duty, MAZ secretary-general Munamato Mutevedzi simply said: “We are urging them to go back to work and negotiations are still continuing.”

The JSC was being represented by its deputy secretary, Rex Shana. Magistrates went on strike on Monday demanding higher salaries. A meeting by the JSC, Chief Magistrate’s Office and the MAZ reached a deadlock on Tuesday.

Magistrates are demanding $600 for trainee, $1 000 for junior, $1 500 for senior, $1 700 for provincial, $2 000 for senior provincial, $2 500 for regional, $2 700 for senior regional, $3 000 for deputy chief magistrates and $3 300 for chief magistrates, respectively.