There appears to be a growing deadlock between the Judicial Service and its staff over an industrial action embarked upon by members of the Judicial Service Staff Association of Ghana (JUSAG).
While the Judicial Service has described the action as ‘illegal’ and directed all staff to return to work with immediate effect, the leadership of the workers is resolute in their decision, saying the only body that can declare their action as illegal is a competent court.
The members of the association insist that they are on a nationwide strike to press home their demand for a salary review which they say was promised them this year.
According to the leadership of the association, the review was to be captured in the 2020 Budget, and the salaries of its members increased with effect from January 2020.
But the association says government and other stakeholders are dragging their feet and unwilling to fulfill the promise made to them.
The association, therefore, entreated its members to lay down their tools, leaving lawyers and litigants stranded at various courts across the country on Wednesday and yesterday.
It was only the Supreme Court that sat on Wednesday as the clerks who are all senior staff of the Judicial Service decided to defy the call to go on strike.
The service subsequently issued a statement signed by the Judicial Secretary, Pamela Addo, asking all staff of the service to return to work yesterday, giving that their strike has been declared illegal by the National Labour Commission (NLC).
But the association, in a quick rebuttal, urged its members not to return to work as the NLC does not have the mandate to declare their action illegal.
It said the only body that could declare the strike as illegal is a court of competent jurisdiction.
“There have been many attempts from various quarters to render our strike illegal and as we move on to the second day you will hear more. Those threats should not intimidate any of our members in that the only body that can determine whether our action is illegal or otherwise is a court of competent jurisdiction and until such court declares so, we shall continue to remain on strike,” the JUSAG statement said.
“In the light of the above, we therefore direct our members of all ranks/positions to disregard calls, messages or directives to go to the office to work in whatsoever capacity or function,” it added.