August 26, 2013 (Lead Story)The Judicial Service has given an
assurance that it is making strenuous efforts with the government to resolve the looming strike by the Judicial Staff Association of Ghana (JUSAG) to pave way for the delivery of judgement on the presidential election petition before the Supreme Court.
According to the Judicial Secretary, Mr Justice Alex B. Poku-Acheampong, “we are making serious efforts to resolve the issue before the judgement date”.
The Supreme Court is billed to deliver its judgement in the petition which is challenging the declaration of President John Mahama as the winner of the 2012 Presidential election.
In an interview with the Daily Graphic in Accra yesterday, Mr Justice Poku-Acheampong explained that the government had so far released some money to settle part of the allowances due the aggrieved staff.
He said the entire work of the Judicial Service was a national assignment and for that reason the service would not relent in its efforts at meeting the demands of Ghanaians.
“We hope and believe the problem will be resolved early this week before judgement is delivered,” Mr Justice Poku-Acheampong added.
Meanwhile, the leadership of JUSAG has dismissed criticisms that the group would hold the country to ransom if its members carried out their threat of strike two days before the Supreme Court gives its verdict on the petition.
“It is not because of the Supreme Court. It is just coincidence. As we speak, most of the courts are on recess. If we had not announced this in January, people would have been justified that we have an agenda,
“Those saying that are entitled to their opinion, but they must know that our demands did not start today. We had started demanding these allowances since March and threatened the strike in April this year. It is not as if it came out of the blue,” the JUSAG Chairman, Mr Francis Brakwah, told the Daily Graphic.
He maintained that the association was not taking advantage of the Supreme Court judgement on August 29 to push for its demands.
The Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning last Thursday released funds for the payment of allowances, including those for fuel, car and motorbike maintenance and overtime, to the members of the association, with their clothing allowance pending.
But Mr Brakwah maintained that the association would call off the intended strike only if the government paid JUSAG members their clothing allowance.
That, he said, was because “it is the most critical among all the allowances and affects all members of JUSAG, with the exception of judges and magistrates”.
“The other allowances affect just some categories. Not until the clothing allowance is paid, we’ll not call off the strike,” he said.
On Tuesday, August 20, 2013, members of JUSAG served notice that they would embark on an industrial action on August 27 if all outstanding allowances due them were not paid by August 26.
In April this year, JUSAG had threatened to embark on strike if their allowances were not paid by April 4.
By Mabel Aku Baneseh & Seth J. Bokpe/Daily Graphic/Ghana