Magistrate and district judges have threatened to embark on a sit-down strike over poor conditions of service from Monday, 26 March 2012, DAILY GUIDE has learnt.
The judges, who constitute the lower bench, have threatened to vacate the courtrooms indefinite across the country if President Mills fails to respond to their demands by the end of this week.
Information reaching this paper indicates that the depressed judges planned to commence the strike action this week but were convinced by national executives of the Association of Magistrates and Judges to suspend the action for a while.
The plea, according to deep-throat sources, was to enable President Mills address the concerns of the judges.
DAILY GUIDE gathered that the recommendations made by a committee instituted by the judicial council with regard to improvement in their conditions of service had been forwarded to President Mills since November last year.
The committee, the paper learnt, was instituted to make recommendations as to how the conditions of service of the judges could be improved after they complained about poor conditions of service.
Though several reminders in the form of letters have been sent to President Mills over the matter, nothing has been done by the first gentleman of the land.
The paper learnt that the committee, which was headed by the Asante Asokorehene, Nana Dr Susubiribi Krobea Asante recommended an upward adjustment in the salaries of the judges, among other things.
It also suggested that official accommodation, vehicle and book allowance should be given to the judges like what pertains in the upper courts.
The committee furthermore recommended that the state complied with article 149 of the 1992 constitution which stipulates that judges of the lower courts should be given entitlements and other benefits in relation to article 71 public officers.
DAILY GUIDE learnt that the recommendations were forwarded to the President because per the constitution, the president was mandated to determine the conditions of service of the judges in consultation with the judicial council.
The paper’s sources revealed that the judicial council was ready to collaborate with the President to determine decent conditions of service for judges.
One of the judges, who spoke to DAILY GUIDE on condition of anonymity, said the President was not committed to implementing the recommendations made by the committee, indicating that they would no longer allow the President time should he fail to utilize the last chance.
He said in spite of the critical work they undertake their salaries range between GH˘800 and GH˘1,000 while their colleagues in the upper courts receive thousands of Ghana cedis.
The judge noted that though they do not wish to be paid the same amounts as their colleagues in the upper courts, they believe they should be given something decent.
The judge pointed out that they do not have official accommodation and vehicles to effectively discharge their functions.
“At times, we are compelled under the circumstances to sleep in hotels which sometimes we pay it on our own and also come to the court in rented taxis,” the worried judge emphasized.
The judge was unhappy with attempts by the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC) to migrate them onto the Single Spine Salary Structure (SSSS).
He said the move by the commission was unconstitutional because the constitution specifically indicates the President, in consultation with the judicial council, would fix their salaries.
The judge indicated that they would were not ready to submit to the commission.
Source: Morgan Owusu/Daily Guide/Ghana
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