DISGRUNTLED government workers under the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) claim they have been gagged from complaining against poor working conditions while their bosses enjoy perks.

The support staff has also accused JSC secretary Walter Chikwana and senior magistrates of turning a deaf ear to their concerns while threatening them with dismissal if they speak out about the labour injustices.

It is understood that magistrates and other senior managers were recently awarded US$150 allowance while the support staff was sidelined. 

Chikwana yesterday dismissed the workers’ allegation.

“There is nothing like that happening at the JSC. It is not possible for someone to be earning merely just ZiG10 or ZiG12. Look, all civil servants get their salaries from the Salary Service Bureau (SSB), it is across the board. There is no way government would neglect JSC workers,” he said.

“It is a lie that the chief magistrate’s department civil litigants cannot access their records without an email address. Records are still being accessed manually because we have not yet installed the Electronic Case Management System at the magistrates court.”

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However, NewsDay heard that the JSC workers have, for the past three months, not been receiving payslips.

The disgruntled workers told NewsDay that morale had hit rock bottom within the commission as some employees were paid around US$250 and around ZiG500.

NewsDay established that JSC employees from across the country had rallied each other on a WhatsApp platform, threatening to pass a vote of no confidence in Chikwana.

In an open letter seeking authorities’ intervention, which was seen by this publication, the workers said this month, it was even worse as some took home ZiG10 or ZiG12.

“About two years ago when SSB requested grades so that it could adjust salary payments, JSC only submitted those of magistrates, while the rest of the staff was left out.

“Which is why in general, JSC staff is paid lower than any other government workers save for magistrates and a select few at the secretariat.

“They encouraged us to form a union, but as soon as that was done and the process was gathering momentum, those that were at the forefront found themselves being victimised, facing charges and being transferred.”

The workers also accused their bosses of awarding relatives and friends tenders for the commission.

They alleged that the JSC deputy secretary’s son’s company got a tender to carry out a “useless and bogus survey”.

The workers also said at the chief magistrate’s department, civil assistant clerks of court were being forced to give litigants very short dates on matters that should either have seven days to two weeks before they are heard in court because of a backlog.