Support for striking court staff: 'It's a really difficult job'

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Wed, 14 Nov 2018, 7:49AM
Ministry of Justice staff in the city are refusing to carry out paperwork in their fight for more pay. Photo / 123RF

Support for striking court staff: 'It's a really difficult job'

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Wed, 14 Nov 2018, 7:49AM

There is support for court staff from within the justice system as strike action escalates.

About 72 court cases have been adjourned in Auckland, and that number is expected to grow.

Ministry of Justice staff in the city are refusing to carry out paperwork in their fight for more pay.

Criminal lawyer Steve Cullen told Kate Hawkesby it will slow the wheels of justice but legitimate stakeholders involved with the courts are very supportive of staff.

"They're in a really difficult job, they are at the coal face dealing with all sorts of difficult people and difficult problems and yet they are getting just about the same money as people who are leaving school and flipping burgers."

Cullen said it is frustrating for everyone involved but he says, "we can't blame the poor court workers" who are caught int the middle. 

"As we understand, the Secretary for Justice Andrew Bridgman wants the court reporters, the transcribers, to take a wage drop which is hardly fair."

"These people are sitting there transcribing sometimes horrific testimony dealing with sexual abuse victims or people who are victims of hideous violence."

He said people don't understand "the stresses and strains" that court workers deal with.

"We need to get it sorted out. It's not satisfactory for the users to be limited in their access for justice but on the other hand, it's not satisfactory to treat the people, who are there working in these circumstances, in this way." 

The court will do what it can to manage the backlog caused by the strike, he said.