State attorneys to meet board over strike

The Association of State Attorneys are to meet the Legal Services Board to discuss  the way forward regarding their indefinite strike which has negatively affected criminal cases at the various courts nationwide.

This was revealed to the Ghanaian Times by the National President of the association,  Mrs. Tete-Mensah, in an interview.

She told The Ghanaian Times that her outfit on Monday, sent a formal letter to the Legal Services Board to schedule a meeting between today and tomorrow to address issues regarding their strike and the way forward.

She added that as prescribed by Section 9 of the Legal Services Act 1993 (PNDC Law 320), the board had been empowered to deal with issues regarding their condition of service.

Mrs. Tete -Mensah called for the intervention of other stakeholders on the labour front to help resolve issues regarding their social security contributions.

That she said, would make the 155 state attorneys nationwide resume their duties to enhance the justice delivery system of the country.

According to the national president, the Labour Commission and others involved had failed to address their plight since they declared the strike on October 19.

She further called on the outgoing government to swiftly address the challenge within the few weeks ahead.

The association on October 19 this year,  declared an indefinite strike over government’s failure to meet their salary demands.

It had earlier given the government a seven-day ultimatum which ended on October 18.

Following that, they held a meeting with the Labour Commission with the aim of addressing their concerns.

However, the President told The Ghanaian Times that nothing fruitful came out of their meeting.

Consequently, they decided to embark on an indefinite strike until their demands were met.

The state attorneys expressed their displeasure over government’s failure to comply with the National Labour Commission’s (NLC) compulsory arbitration award on September 28, 2015, aimed at improving salaries and conditions of service of state attorneys.

A statement issued by the national president of the association said  the NLC had the mandate to compel the Minister for Justice and Attorney General, the Ministry of Finance and Fair Wages and Salaries Commission to comply with the directive.

The association said that the NLC requested the appropriate authorities to harmonise their salaries with those of the lower bench, with back pay, adding that the current salary scheme had errors and must be ratified by the Ministry of Finance.

The group indicated that members were required to submit their SSNIT numbers for onward transmission to the Controller and Accountant- General’s Department.

According to the association, it had forwarded SSNIT numbers of members to the Legal Services Board as directed, however, no pension scheme had been put in place for them.

The attorneys demand procurement of vehicles for all state attorneys and an annual research allowance to enhance the execution of their work.

The association is also demanding free healthcare, housing facilities, payment of outstanding leave allowance, clothing and fuel allowances among others.

The group said that it was disheartening that over one year, no proper conditions of service had been implemented for state attorneys.

State attorneys embarked on a strike months ago over the same issues, however, upon some discussions with stakeholders, they called off the strike to enable them go through the arbitration process.

 

By Edem Mensah-Tsotorme

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