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Court blocks Judiciary strike

Attorney General, Kalekeni Kaphale, has obtained an injunction restraining Judiciary support staff from going ahead with a planned industrial action scheduled for today.

The employees are demanding that Finance Minister, Goodall Gondwe, must release money for their house allowances which Parliament approved in July for them as well as judicial officers. It is, however, the judicial officers only who are receiving the allowances.

The development forced the employees to resort to an industrial action after the lapse of 21 days from March 20 which they gave Gondwe to implement the allowances and the lapse of another seven days which the employees served their employer with before going on strike.

Judiciary spokesperson, Mlenga Mvula, was not sure whether the action would proceed.

“But we are also yet to see what happens because we are told that the Attorney General has obtained an injunction restraining the employees from going ahead with the strike. I cannot say much on that as we are yet to be served with the said injunction,” Mvula said.

Kaphale confirmed that he sent a lawyer to the court to obtain an injunction against the purported strike.

“It could be true that the injunction has been obtained, we sent one of our lawyers to the court and I have not received any feedback from him,” he said.

Yesterday the Judiciary released a statement which indicated that the intended withdrawal of labour has not been done in full compliance with the requisite procedures laid down under the Labour Relations Act and all relevant laws.

The statement further warned the workers against failing to report and carry out their duties on yesterday, as earlier planned, saying that those who would participate would be deemed absent from duty.

However, President of the Judiciary Staff Union, Charles Lizingeni, said Tuesday that their strike would start today despite threats by the Judiciary management.

“We followed all the necessary procedures and we if hear nothing by close of business today (yesterday), the strike is on come Wednesday (today),” Lizingeni said.

Meanwhile, government says it is still considering the issue of housing allowances for the workers. Treasury spokesperson Alfred Kutengule said Tuesday that arrangements are underway to meet Judiciary authorities to discuss the issues.

“The matter is under consideration and there will be discussions between Treasury and Judiciary. It will be a high authorities meeting, as such, I cannot say when exactly the meeting will he held,” Kutengule said.

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