A high-powered delegation from the Judicial Services Commission and the Chief Secretary George Mkondiwa last week met Parliament’s Public Appointments Committee (PAC) in Lilongwe over negotiations of their new conditions of service.
This comes amid the collapse of negotiations between the Judiciary and the Executive regarding an earlier agreement that was approved by PAC in 2012.
The 2012 negotiations have, however, outlived their required timeframe, according to the terms of conditions of service for judicial officers; hence, the need for the process to start all over again.
However, minutes of last week’s meeting that Weekend Nation has seen, indicate that government wants the conditions of services that were approved by PAC in 2012 to go to the National Assembly for approval.
But the Judiciary team insisted that as long as PAC works in consultation with the Attorney General and Treasury, their conditions could be effected.
The sources say nothing was agreed on during the meeting and the committee has since scheduled another meeting.
Registrar of the High Court Joseph Chigona, who was part of the meeting, refused to shed more light on what transpired, but only said the negotiation process is still going on.
PAC chairperson Lingson Belekanyama said they have been meeting officials from the Judiciary, Chief Secretary and the Treasury to solve the long-standing issues.
He said the meeting was fruitful and after the negotiation the committee would be taking the matter to the plenary this coming November for approval.
According to laws, conditions of service for the Judiciary shall be reviewed and approved by PAC every three years.
The Judiciary has been fighting to have their perks increased but government has refused, citing financial constraints the country is facing.
Among three issues that led to the collapse of the negotiation was clause number 27 of the Judiciary conditions of service that stipulated “that government shall provide free housing to judicial officers… and where the government does not provide a house to a judicial officer, such judicial officer shall be entitled to a monthly house allowance of up to a maximum of K150 000.”
Another contentious matter is clause 31(1) which entitles judges and the registrar to a new motor vehicle, which should be “replaced after a period of four years or after covering a distance of 150 000 kilometres or whichever event occurs earlier.”
Further, the Judiciary were entitled to a corresponding increase in salaries and allowances whenever there is a general increase in salaries in the civil service.