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Chief Justice gets judges, magistrates to suspend intended strike

Judges and magistrates of the lower courts have suspended their intended strike over poor conditions of service.

According to Citi News sources, this follows an intervention by the Chief Justice, Sophia Akuffo, who is said to have begun talks with President Akufo-Addo, to resolve the concerns of members of the lower bench.

Members of the lower bench, including circuit court judges and magistrates of the district courts, threatened to withdraw their services a fortnight ago over issues relating to their salaries and conditions of service. The judges gave authorities a two-week ultimatum to address their concerns or witness a withdrawal of their services from the 21st March.

The judges have served several notices of a strike since 2016 but have never followed through.

The recent letter addressed to the Chief Justice accused the government of dragging its feet in resolving their issues.

“Historically, our dealings with the ministry of finance since 2013 have been characterized by deliberate inventions or errors and mistakes, withdrawal of salaries, deductions in salaries and deliberate mistakes.”

They also expressed frustration at what they described as government’s disrespect towards them.

“We find that these actions of the government are a violation of Article 149 of the 1992 Constitution. It is our view that government‘s attitude frustrates the work of the Judicial Council on salaries of the lower bench by treating the work of the Council itself and lower bench with contempt.’’

The judges also withdrew from further salary negotiations because according to them, after several meetings with the Joint Judicial Council and Government Negotiating Team between February 26 and March 2, 2018, nothing concrete had been achieved.

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They have raised a number of issues which include the lack of personal security for them, the poor state of their chambers and courtrooms, the lack of armed security in the courts and non-availability of risk allowances for them.

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