Judges’ indefinite strike looms

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Marrieta Brew Appiah-OppongInformation reaching DAILY GUIDE indicates that Circuit Court judges and magistrates nationwide are likely to declare an indefinite nationwide strike today.

They intend to embark on the strike action as a result of the failure of government, through the Ministry of Finance, to implement new conditions of service which would see judges of the lower bench benefit from a 10 percent salary increment and other allowances.

The 10-day ultimatum give to government by the judges and magistrates to implement the new conditions of service by September 30 has elapsed.

In June, this year, the judges called for the immediate withdrawal of a letter from Julius Deborah, the Chief of Staff that sought to vary the conditions of service for circuit court judges and magistrates.


Crunch meeting


As at press time yesterday, sources close to the Association of Magistrates and Judges of Ghana (AMJG) claimed the leadership of the Association would hold a crunch meeting today over the issue.

The meeting, according to the source, is likely to announce a day for the commencement of the nationwide strike, which is expected to compel about 268 Circuit Court judges and magistrates to abandon the courts.

Today’s meeting is expected to be attended by the new executives of the Association namely Justices Victor Ofoe, President; Elizabeth Ankomah, Vice President; Aboagye Tandoh, Secretary/leader of the judges of the Lower Bench and Abena Oppong Adjin-Doku, Treasurer.

According to the sources, the executives, who would be holding their first meeting since their election on Thursday, are most likely to push for an amicable settlement of the impasse.

It added “failure to reach an amicable settlement means that a date will be fixed for the commencement of the strike.”


Atuguba enters fray


Justice William Atuguba, a Justice of the Supreme Court, probably took the debate a notch higher on Wednesday when he stated in a keynote address at the opening of a two conference of the Association in Accra that judges must be paid entertainment allowances, among others.

“The Bench has a unique and pivotal role to play in this country, and its conditions of service must correspondingly be unique and should not be considered in common with generalized policy on pay structure or the like.”

He continued: “In this connection, I call for the restoration of an enhanced leave allowance, substantial entertainment allowance, a handsome allowance to compensate for loss of private professional practice as enjoyed by doctors and teachers etc.”

The implementation of the new conditions of service was approved by former President John Mills in 2012 and to be effected in July, this year for the judges of the lower bench.

So far, the salaries of the justices of superior courts have been increased while those of the magistrates and judges have been abandoned.

By Jeffrey De-Graft Johnson

ABOUT: Nana Kwesi Coomson

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A Freelance Journalist, Entrepreneur and Philanthropist. Editor-in-Chief of www.233times.com. A contributory writer for Ghanaian Chronicle Newspaper. An alumnus of Adisadel College where he read General Arts. He holds first degree in Bachelor of Arts from the University of Ghana; Political Science (major) and History (minor). He has also pursued MSc Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Energy with Public Relations (PR) at the Robert Gordon University in the United Kingdom. He is a 2018 Mandela Washington Fellow (YALI) who studied at Clark Atlanta University on the Business and Entrepreneurship track. His mentors are Rupert Murdoch, Warren Buffet, Sam Jonah, Kwaku Sakyi Addo and Piers Morgan

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