Colombia’s judicial labor union has announced an impending strike over salary disagreements, an alleged lack of resources, and proposed reforms being debated in Congress.
Freddy Machado, who heads the judicial union Asonal, said that wages need to be adjusted according to the law, and that the resources allocated to the judicial branch in the 2015 budget need to be increased, as reported by Colombia’s Caracol Radio.
On Twitter, Asonal expressed concerns that the Balance of Power reforms would weaken the strength of the judiciary, tweeting: “The project of reform called Balance of Powers unbalances the judiciary!”
As a final peace agreement between the FARC and the government inches closer, Machado explained, more resources will be necessary as much of the weight of the post-conflict operations will fall on the judicial branch, W Radio reported Monday.
Specifically, the offices that deal with “decongestion,” or the backlog of cases and investigations, face imminent closure.
Machado claimed that the reforms bureaucratized the Prosecutor General’s office, bringing in directors and advisers which he believes will hamper the office’s work.
“We want investigations, but those that are done well,” Machado said.
Asonal’s leader also raised questions over the formation of a “super court” which could prosecute the highest levels of the judicial branch, specifically over the manner in which judges would be chosen. He recommended they be elected on the basis of merit from a pool of lawyers practicing criminal law.
Negotiations between Asonal and the government have already occurred, though Machado has claimed they are a “joke” because the Minister of Finance hasn’t attended.
The strike is scheduled to begin October 9th, and will be indefinite. Some 40,000 members of the judicial branch are expected to participate.
Workers from the judiciary went on strike earlier this summer over congestion, one of the issues about which they still have concerns.
At the time, the Minister of Justice claimed the government didn’t have the resources to complete the decongestion program.