The Judicial Service Staff Association (JUSAG), has declared an indefinite strike over delayed salaries and related allowances effective Wednesday May 24, 2023. The National Executive Council of JUSAG said it sanctioned the strike after consultation with all stakeholders. The Association declared the industrial strike over the delay in approving the recommendation/advice of the Judicial Council on the review of their salaries and related allowances in accordance with Article 149 of the 1992 Constitution among others. The National Labour Commission (NLC) on May 10, 2023 ordered JUSAG, the Labour and Employment and Finance Ministries and other parties to negotiate and resolve the matter within two weeks. The parties were to report back to the Commission on Wednesday May 24, 2023. Mr Samuel Afotey Otu, National President of JUSAG, said the ruling by the Commission contravenes Article 149 of the 1992 Constitution as it attempts to strip the President of the authority vested in him by the 1992 Constitution. He said the ruling also contradicted the Supreme Court ruling in the case of JUSAG vs. The Attorney General and 2 Others in 2016. 'Despite these apparent violations of the rules of natural justice by the Commission, and its flavoured ruling, we placed the interest of the Judiciary and Ghana high and exercised patience hoping that the Goverment will exercise good faith and initiate steps to resolve our grievances,' he said. He said unfortunately, nobody in government invited them for a meeting or attempted to resolve our concerns. The National President said the Labour Minister, who was directed to lead the resolution went and slept on the job, yet they remained patient for 14 days. He said it was clear to them that Commission had a predetermined mindset planned with the Government to frustrate the efforts of JUSAG in demanding what was due its members. He said the ruling of the Commission was prepared and dated on Tuesday, 9 May 2023 prior to the meeting on Wednesday, 10 May 2023. The National President said the Commission's ruling was prejudiced and Commission was bias in favour of the Government. Mr Afotey Otu said the Commission virtually violated all the principles of natural justice and the whole proceedings at the Commission and the ruling had occasioned miscarriage of justice. 'In a bid to cover the injustice visited on JUSAG, the Commission wrote a letter dated May 12, 2023 to JUSAG withdrawing its ruling on the grounds of supposed error they had detected in their ruling,' he added. He said by the withdrawal, 'therefore, there was technically and there was still technically, no ruling or directive' preventing JUSAG from proceeding with their industrial action, since they had not replaced the withdrawn ruling with another one, or serve same on JUSAG. He said 'by this declaration of strike, all staff of the Service were immediately directed not to report to work from Wednesday May 24, 2023 onwards unless and until President Nana Akufo-Addo complies with Article 149 of the Constitution by approving and paying our new salaries with all the arrears from January, 2023 to date.' He said no Court Registrar should open or be compelled to open any registry or Court for use during the period of the strike. He said Regional Executive Board and Committee members of JUSAG were to be on the lookout to ensure compliance. He said the Security Men and women were to stay at post, but make sure that all entrances to the Courts and other offices were locked to prevent entry into the Courts or any premises of the service. The National President said all drivers were directed to hand over the official vehicles in their custody to the transport department. 'No driver shall drive any office vehicle or any officer or any judge during the period of the strike,' he said. He said if any staff of the service received any threat from any Management member to report to work or perform any official duty during the strike, he or she shall decline same and report the matter to JUSAG. Mr Afotey Otu said, 'Let no one in Government or Management unlawfully coerce any staff or intimidate staff during the strike.' The National President said if any member was inflicted with any injustice in this cause, 'we shall deem it as all members have been affected.' He, therefore, called on the leadership of the Association of Judges and Magistrates to join the strike since majority of their members were also affected by the injustice and suffering we are undergoing.
Source: Ghana News Agency