Colombia’s government will not address the judicial branch while they are striking, said the finance minister on Friday.
In response to judges striking Thursday and consequently halting Colombia’s justice system, Finance Minister Mauricio Cardenas has stated that the government refuses to negotiate with judges while they continue to strike.
According to Cardenas, their claims are distorted since the increased budget the judicial branch is striking for has grown significantly. Cardenas appeared firm in that the government would not accommodate the judges who have resorted to striking.
“It is not true that the government has failed to comply with the commitments asked for in June with the judicial workers,” said Cardenas who explained that the investment budget went from approximately $122,000 to $184,000, Caracol Radio reported.
The judicial branch on the other hand, has remained confident in their cause. Fernando Otalvaro, president of the judicial branch syndicate Asonal, said that they are currently still holding hearings for the most urgent cases, “but if there is no dialogue we are going to stop all hearings, including those that are occurring today,” newspaper El Universal reported.
Ninety percent of court cases in Colombia were suspended Thursday after judges and court workers went on strike to protest for better wages and a bigger budget to be allotted to the judicial branch.
The Colombian government earlier in June attempted to reform the judicial branch, but stumbled upon fierce criticism by judicial workers and human rights groups who said the bill would not solve the ongoing problems in the country’s clogged justice system. President Juan Manuel Santos was ultimately forced to reject the bill after congress altered the proposal and the final draft would grant excessive judicial benefits to members of Congress.