High Court workers stage industrial action over poor working conditions

Chief Justice Bryan met with disgruntled workers on Monday.

Some of the island’s Circuit Courts faced a complete shutdown Monday (Sept 16) as some court reporters staged a sit in to protest against the conditions under which they have been working for several years.

The Michaelmas session of the Home Circuit Court in Kingston opened Monday and only one of the six criminal courts sat. Several cases for trial had to be put off for other dates.

The court reporters said there is a shortage of staff which left them overburdened with work. They said they have very little time to prepare the notes of evidence and that oftentimes they have to be take home their work.

Another sore point, they said, is that promotion is very slow in coming and that the salary they receive is inadequate for the volume of work they have to do.

The Supreme Court building in downtown Kingston.

Chief Justice Bryan Sykes had a lengthy meeting Monday afternoon with the court reporters who aired their grouses. Some noted that if the conditions are not improved quickly, they will continue to protest. The court reporters are responsible for taking notes of evidence at trials and also produce producing them for cases on appeal.