General News of Sunday, 22 May 2016
Deputy Employment Minister, Baba Jamal says the strike by Judicial Service staff is an unfair attempt to put fear into a government that has an election to win.
The Deputy Minister said he cannot understand why employees should embark on a strike fully aware it is illegal except to make government unpopular.
Judicial Service Association of Ghana (JUSAG) once again declared a strike for the second time in 2016 over persisting remuneration issues.
They say government has failed to implement a salary review as recommended by the Judicial Council.
Under the new review, the employees expect to see their allowances and salary consolidated into one salary. The workers had expected that this would take effect from June 2015.
But nearly a year later, the workers say they have grown dissatisfied with government’s feet-dragging over the salary.
The President of Judicial Service Staff Association (JUSAG), Mr. Alex Nartey at a press conference on Friday said after a year of “failed assurances”, the employers will not return to work until further notice.
But Baba Jamal said government was still on the negotiation table with workers only to hear their leaders declare a strike.
“I am very disappointed that people who work with the judicial service should behave this way”, he complained.
According to him, the parties went on a two-week negotiation break to consult over the worker’s concerns.
Baba Jamal said JUSAG leaders refused to turn up for a meeting last week Tuesday until the labour arbiter, the National Labour Commission (NLC), subpoenaed JUSAG to a meeting last week Wednesday.
At the meeting with Commission, the parties were ordered to report back for further talks on June 8, Baba Jamal explained.
He condemned the strike as illegal arm-twisting when the election is barely seven months away.
“People think that it is an election year hold the government to ransom” the politician said.
But General Secretary of JUSAG Derik Annang told Joy FM’s Top Story, “the strike is still in force until we receive something concrete from government”. He defended the decision as legally fulfilling the requirements of the Labour Action Section 159 and 160 that spells out the procedure and conditions under which a union can embark on a strike.
According to Section 159, a workers union can only strike after talks with his employer has failed and after it has written to the NLC. There is a seven days period of NLC-lead negotiations.
Section 160 indicates that it is only after the expiration of the seven days that a workers’ union can embark on a strike.
“In our opinion, we have fulfilled the legal requirement under law…We have not sinned against the Labour commission”, he said.