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HAITI | Magistrates embark on industrial action over work conditions, salaries

President of the Professional Association of Magistrates (APM), Me Wando Saint-Villier. President of the Professional Association of Magistrates (APM), Me Wando Saint-Villier.
PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti, Oct 9, CMC – Haiti’s judicial system was thrown in a tailspin on Monday after magistrates heeded a call to begin a five-day work stoppage in support of their demands for improved working condition as well as what they term the insensitivity of a government minister to their situation.

President of the Professional Association of Magistrates (APM), Me Wando Saint-Villier, said the decision to stop work followed the failure to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) last week Thursday between the Justice Minister, Heidi Fortune, the Minister of the Economy, Jude Alix Patrice Solomon, and Jules Cantave, President of the Superior Council of the Judiciary (CSPJ).

court magistrateHe said Solomon had failed to turn up for the meeting where the MOU would have been signed and the work stoppage is also to protest Solomon’s failure to respect the Judiciary.

“This protocol should be signed by the parties concerned, but unfortunately Minister Solomon has done wrong, without giving any explanation of the reasons for his absence” Saint-Villier said, recalling that the APM had given the parties an October 6 deadline to meet their demands.

The magistrates said their concerns include better working conditions, new premises, rehabilitation of obsolete premises, an increase in the budget of the CSPJ, health insurance coverage, staffing of the courts with modern equipment and materials among other concerns.

“Unless a Memorandum of Understanding is signed within the allotted time, magistrates will observe an unlimited strike from Monday, October 9, 2017 until their demands are met,” the PAM said in a statement late last month.

Meanwhile, a truce has been reached to end the “Operation arms crossed” strike that has paralyzed the Customs.

The Committee of the Haitian Customs Association (ADH) and the union say the demands of their predate the introduction of the 2017-2018 budget in Parliament, calling for among other things, an 80 per cent increase in salaries and a special status as police officers because of the importance of their work.

Over the weekend, the parties agreed that as of Monday, a truce will be observed and that Customs officers will resume their work.

The unions have not disclosed the concessions reached with the government for ending the strike.

  • Countries: Haiti