Ghanaian courts paralyzed by striking judicial workers

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Ghana’s courts Wednesday failed to function as a result of a nationwide strike action by members of the Judicial Service Staff Association of Ghana (JUSSAG), local media reported here Wednesday.

courtThe president of the association, Alex Nartey, told local media the industrial action followed the failure of the executives of the JUSSAG and the Labor Ministry to reach an agreement over the payment of their allowances which are in arrears from last year.
All workers within the Judicial Service, with the exception of security men who were left to guard the premises of the courts, Wednesday refused to report for work.
Nartey said the staff, comprising court clerks, registrars, and other key judicial service workers who help judges dispense justice and adjudicate cases, would remain at home until their monies hit their accounts.

The JUSSAG, he said, met with the Labor Ministry early this month but nothing conclusive was arrived at except a promise of another meeting to resolve their grievances.
Nartey regretted that after the second meeting with the Labor Ministry on Tuesday, there was still nothing to be happy about hence the decision to go on strike.
The Ministry, he said, could not give them a firm date as to when their allowances, amounting to more than 60 million cedis or 16.7 millions U.S. dollars would be paid.
Nartey said they have been demanding for the payment of the arrears for several months now but government has been adamant and were left with no choice than to declare a strike action.

The state-run Daily Graphic reported that the strike had left some litigants, friends and family members stranded behind the closed gates of some high and circuit courts across the country.
The Brong Ahafo Regional Chairman of JUSAG, Ernest Boakye Afram, told the daily the government had breached a constitutional provision regarding the payments of staff under the Judiciary.
?These allowances need no parliamentary approval for its payment; it?s due us and until the government pays the money, we are not calling off the strike,? he stated.
Meanwhile, the Employment and Labor Relations Ministry has expressed surprise and disappointment at the indefinite strike action declared by the JUSAG.

Haruna Iddrisu, Minister of Employment and Labor Relations, told local media network, peacefmonline.com, the government in a meeting with executives of JUSAG agreed that their conditions would be looked at again by 30 June.
?We met with the executives?I am surprised and disappointed that they will declare an indefinite strike which is indefinite over a matter that is receiving government?s critical and full attention but it is within their right and so we will respect it.
?It is however not the best way to go?we need to put emotions aside and look at the issues. Government did not say they will not pay,? he said. Enditem

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