Thursday, 21 September

JUSAG strike: Matters under control, courts'll open soon – Torkornoo

General News
She, however, assured the committee, the process is very much going on

Chief Justice nominee Gertrude Torkornoo has said efforts are being made to reopen the courts.

This follows processes, she indicated, are underway to address the concerns of the judicial service workers who are currently on strike.

Shedding more light on why the staff of the judicial service have embarked on their current strike while appearing before parliament’s Appointment Committee on Friday, 26 May 2023, the Chief Justice nominee explained: “It’s about the review of salaries". 

"There is a structure for the review of salaries on a biannual basis and that process started and, staff, I think, are of the opinion that it’s going too slowly and this is why they’ve gone are on strike", she explained.

She, however, assured the committee: “The process is very much going on and yesterday, we were in meetings.”  

 According to the Chief Justice nominee, the judiciary has not defaulted on its part in the process of the review of salaries of staff of the judicial service.

“I would say not at all because it is not a process that’s limited to the judiciary. It’s a process that starts with proposals from the judiciary, goes to the judicial council, goes to the executive," she explained. 

"Ministry of Finance is involved, the Office of the President is involved," she noted.

“So, it’s a cycle and then they get back to the judiciary. It is a cycle," she stressed. "As I said, the process is ongoing. I think their complaint was that it was going too slowly.” 

“Matters are under control," she assured, explaining that the parties concerned have had meetings.

"We are one family and I believe that very soon, we’ll see the court doors open,” Justice Torkornoo noted.

Meanwhile, the judicial service has appealed to the Judicial Service Staff Association of Ghana (JUSAG) to call off its indefinite strike.

The judicial service said it invited the executives of JUSAG to discuss their concerns but representatives of JUSAG did not honour the invitation.

To help resolve their concerns, the judicial service said it will meet with the Ministry of Finance on Wednesday, May 31, 2023, over the issue and, thus, appealed to the Association to call off its strike.

JUSAG declared an indefinite strike on Wednesday, 24 May 2023.

JUSAG, in a statement, accused the government of ignoring their concerns on the implementation of the approved cost of living allowance and general working condition of its members.

JUSAG noted: “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.

“JUSAG submitted its proposal for review of salaries for 2023-2024 on 31st October 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.”

The association said it can no longer take the mistreatment of its members and resorted to strike effective May 24.

“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," it announced. 

Court users have since been left stranded as courts have been closed across the country.