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Government rebuffs judicial staff

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Government has rebuffed the demands of Judiciary support staff to start giving them house allowances and that their conditions of service be harmonised with those of judicial officers.

In a letter signed by Secretary to the Treasury, Ben Botolo, and addressed to Nyirenda Msisha and Company with a copy to Ritz Attorneys, government says it regrets to advise that it has not changed its stand on the matter.

The letter, which was released on August 15, said government has no obligation to make the claimed payments.

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The letter says government cannot accept the demand for payment of housing allowances when there are no financial resources to cater for additional payments to the support staff.

“Any form of settlement in relation to the claim is unacceptable,” states the letter.

The letter further said while government is ready and willing to continue discussing the matter with a view to find a lasting solution, it cannot do so when labour has been withdrawn.

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“Government believes the strike is illegal and unless the employees return to work, it shall be compelled to take action within the law,” states the letter.

However, Andy Hariwa, spokesperson for the disgruntled support staff, refused to comment, saying they have not received the letter.

Hariwa said they are yet to be briefed by their lawyers, Ritz Attorneys, since the letter is addressed to them.

The members of the Judiciary support staff have been on a nationwide strike for two weeks crippling judicial services in the country.

The judicial staff include court clerks, court marshals, drivers, interpreters and court reporters.

Both the government and the support staff settled for renowned lawyer Mordecai Msisha as a conciliator.

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