Chief Justice Sophia Akuffo, will retire from the Judicial Service on December 20, after attaining the statutory retirement age of 70, but her exit, will not be a peaceful one because her subordinates; the Judicial Service Staff Association of Ghana (JUSAG), have not seen any improvement in their lives under her leadership.
Indeed, they are threatening to embark on an industrial strike, to demand for pay rise, which has been denied since 2017, when Georgina Wood ensured an increment before leaving office after 10 years of service, but under the current Chief Justice, no increment had been seen by members of JUSAG.
The nationwide strike action begun yesterday, Tuesday 5, November 2019, with the wearing of red-arm bands and hoisting of red flags on all court premises nationwide.
But on November 13, 2019, the Association, will move into full swing with it action which by design, will automatically grind court activities to a halt.
A statement has been issued to the National Labour Commission (NLC) on Friday 1, November 2019, to serve as notice for the impending strike action latest next week Wednesday November 13.
The statement signed by the JUSAG President, Alex Nartey, said “Notice is hereby given that the Judicial Service Association of Ghana (JUSAG), will embark on an industrial action effective 13, November 2019”.
It added “The above intended strike action, is to demand for review of our current salaries”.
The Association, explained that their current salary arrangement was implemented in 2017 to be reviewed twice a year.
“However, in the year 2017, the Ministry of Finance sought to cancel the payment of rent allowance to our members and after several protests, the Judicial Council, government and the Association, resolved the issue in 2018 and for implementation in year 2019”.
JUSAG, went on to explain that “In 2019, the Association wrote for the salary negotiations on 26th April, 2019 and subsequently served a reminder on 29th July, 2019.
On 1st October, 2019 the Judicial Council, mandated to review our salaries and other related matters under the 1992 Constitution set up a committee to consider the proposal of the Association. At the meeting, it was resolved that the decisions of the meeting will be forwarded to the Presidency for approval and same captured in the National Budget for 2020”.
In what appears to be a breach of trust, the Association, says it sources within government have hinted them that the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, has rather shifted their salary review from 2019 to 2020 and implementation pushed to 2021.
A decision they are vehemently rejecting, hence the strike action next week Wednesday.
“It has; however, come to our attention Ministry of Finance has rather slated our salary review for the year 2020 and for implementation in year 2021. The Association vehemently disagrees with this position taken by Government, hence our present demand”.
All things being equal, the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta, is slated to present the 2020 budget in Parliament next week Thursday, November 14.
The notice to NLC, which was copied to ten institutional heads, including the Chief Justice, the Finance Minister, , Minister for Employment and Labour Relations, Ignatius Baffour Awuah, said a meeting on October 30, 2019, has decided on three things.
They are: All staff of the Judicial Service, shall put on red-arm bands and hoist red flags in the courts, nationwide effective Tuesday 5th, 2019.
That all staff of the Judicial Service, shall embark on an indefinite strike, beginning Wednesday November 13, 2019 until further notice.
That staff of the Judicial Service, are entreated to observe the above directive without fail.