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Labour Commission Has No Locus - State Attorneys   
 
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21-Jul-2015  
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They insist the National Labour Commission (NLC) has no locus under the present circumstance to direct them to end the strike because the NLC has failed to adhere to rules set out in the Labour Act of 2003.

“They have no power to tell us to call off our strike because they have not complied with their own laws. They should comply with their own rules and laws and we will comply with their directive,” the President of the Association of State Attorneys, Ms Francisca Tete-Mensah, said in reaction to media reports that the NLC had directed the attorneys to resume work.

Reacting in an interview with the Daily Graphic, Ms Tete-Mensah said the association had not received any official notification urging its members to end the strike.

According to her, there were procedures to be followed in labour disputes and said the association duly notified the NLC before embarking on the strike.
State attorneys, on Tuesday, July 7, 2015, began an indefinite nationwide strike until their demands for unpaid allowances and improved conditions of service were met.

Procedures

According to Ms Tete-Mensah, the strike was legal and that the NLC had powers to order for compulsory arbitration after setting out issues to be resolved.

“The NLC is expected to set out issues for compulsory arbitration between the parties, as well as appoint three arbitrators to look into the issues, but is yet to do this,” she said.

She said the association took the Minister of Finance and the Attorney-General to the NLC in November 2014 and had since then sent five letters to make enquiries, but none of the letters had been responded to.

She indicated that fuel allowance for three out of six months had been paid to members of the association.

She also said 10 computers had been handed over to prosecutors at the Criminal Division of the Attorney-General’s Department but could not state the exact number that had been sent to the regions.

Strike

The action by the state attorneys, numbering 151, has resulted in the adjournment of cases involving them.

Only criminal cases being prosecuted by the police are being heard by the courts.

The situation is not different at the Registrar-General’s Department, the Attorney-General’s Department, the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO), the Land Title Registry, the Council for Law Reporting, the Copyright Office and Legal Aid and other departments and agencies where the services of state attorneys are required.

Demands

The striking state attorneys are demanding the harmonisation of their salaries and benefits with those of judges at the lower courts with effect from 2012.

The next issue, according to the state attorneys, was the non-payment of their fuel allowances for the past six months.

Clothing and leave allowances for state attorneys, according to Ms Tete-Mensah, had also not been released by the government for the past seven months.

Pension scheme

The striking state lawyers are also demanding to be placed under the SSNIT pension scheme. According to them, that should have happened since January 2015.

The striking attorneys are also demanding protection in their offices and at the courts, since they could easily be targeted and attacked by people they prosecuted.
 
 
Source: Daily Graphic
 
 

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