Justice delivery came to a halt yesterday as the Judicial Service Staff Association of Ghana (JUSAG) declared a nationwide strike over the non-approval of reviewed salaries and other allowances of its members.
JUSAG accused the government of not addressing the conditions of service and emoluments of staff members and warned that they would only call off the action if their concerns were addressed.
Because of this strike, the court rooms were closed to litigants, lawyers and other court users.
The Association, in a statement signed and issued by Samuel Afotey Otoo, president of JUSAG, Wednesday, announced the indefinite action and accused the government of consistent dishonesty in attending to the conditions of service of members.
The Association said its proposals to the government on the implementation of the approved cost of living allowance for members were not urgently attended to.
“Colleagues may recall that the Government of Ghana introduced the Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) in July 2022 for all public sector workers including staff of the Judicial Service due to the adverse economic condition the country was and is still undergoing,” he said.
He said “JUSAG submitted its proposal for review of salaries for 2023-2024 on October 31, 2022 to the Judicial Council for consideration in its advice to the President for determination in accordance Articles 149 and 158(2) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana.”
“We have suffered enough. We can no longer bear it. An empty sack cannot stand upright. The National Executive Council of JUSAG, upon consultations with the Judicial Service Ladies Association of Ghana, Senior Staff Association (SSAJUG), Driver Association, Finance Staff Association, and all stakeholders who matter, hereby declared an indefinite strike,” Mr Otoo added.
At the Accra High Court, only a hand full of staffmembers were spotted at the premises.
But they refused to comment about the action when contacted by the Ghanaian Times.
Ms Mensah Addison, Abigail Cecil and Kitampo Russel who were pursuing civil cases told the Ghanaian Times they were not aware of the nationwide action.
For his part, Russel appealed to the government to meet the JUSAG ‘half way” so proceedings could be conducted.
He said he was concerned that his case which had been pending for three days could drag on if the action was not called off immediately.
From Kumasi the Ashanti Regional capital, Kingsley E.Hope reports that a visit to the high courts at Adum, saw all the gates locked up with strips of red cloth hanging.
At the circuit courts, some staff were seen around the premises but not working.
Geoffrey Buta reports that courtrooms and offices at both the Tamale high and district courts in the Northern Region were locked as red bands were tied on the gates as of 11am.
From the Eastern Region capital, Koforidua, Ama Tekyiwaa Ampadu Agyeman reports that entrance to the Koforidua District Court A and B were closed at 11am when the Ghanaian Times visited.
Lawrence Vomafa-Akpalu reports that the story was the same at the Adenta Court Complex which was under lock and key to the disappointment of court users when the Ghanaian Times arrived there at 10:00 am.
Some of the people said they thought today was a holiday as they were surprised that the court complex that was usually bustling all day appears so quiet.
It took some food vendors around the area to explain to them that the Judicial Service staff were on an indefinite strike.
Ms Evelyn Tetteh and her brother had travelled from Oyibi to get a court to serve a court order only to hear of the turn of events.
BY MALIK SULLEMANA