State Attorneys go for arbitration

State Attorneys across the country yesterday called off their one month strike over demands for improvement in their service conditions.

Their action followed an indication of progress made at the ongoing discussions at the arbitration level with the parties involved at the National Labour Commission.

The arbitration committee had 14 days to come up with a decision called award, which will be binding on all parties.

The association would then have the right of appeal on legal matters if dissatisfied.

Addressing a news conference at the Attorney-General’s Department, the national president of the Association of State Attorneys, Mrs. Francisca Tete-Mensah, said in view of the concrete steps being taken to address their grievances, the association had called off the strike and resumed work.

“We members of the Association of State Attorneys, have duly called off the strike and reported to work already,” she said.

According to her, as a law-abiding group, they had decided to abide by Section 161(1) of the National Labour Commission Act, 2003(Act 651) which averred that “a party to an industrial dispute shall not resort to a strike or lockout during a period when negotiation, mediation or arbitration proceedings are in progress”.

She said the association had earlier, had meetings with the Chief of Staff, officials from the Ministry of Justice and Attorney General’s Department, Ministry of Employment and Labour, Ministry of Finance, the Parliamentary Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs and the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission among others, to ensure that their grievances were addressed.

The association, comprising principal, senior, state and assistant state attorneys on July 8, 2015, embarked on strike to back its demand for harmonisation of salaries and benefits of State Attorneys with those of the lower court, with back pay as stated in section (5) of the Legal Service Act, 1993 (PNDCL 320).

The demands include, payment of outstanding leave and clothing allowances, fuel allowance, a sustainable pension scheme, free medical care, and logistical support to enhance effective service delivery.

Also, they are asking for office and housing facilities, transport to and from court, training and retraining, timely promotion and security at office and work.

By Edem Mensah-Tsotorme 

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