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General News of Saturday, 12 November 2016

Source: Myjoyonline.com

Judges receive less than GHC4,000; threaten strike over unpaid reviewed salaries

Lower Court judges in Ghana say they are frustrated by government’s failure to implement salary reviews granted them five years ago.

They have threatened to go on strike by November 20 if their concerns are not addressed. The judges are believed to received very low salaries, some far below GHS4,000 a month.

Spokesperson for the affected judges, Mr. Aboagye Tandoh, said the lower court judges’ reviewed service conditions were agreed to, and ratified by, the late President John Atta Mills in November 2011.

These services have remained unimplemented since then.

The Circuit Court judge said the Judicial Council has intervened in the matter and the affected judges hope that the issue will be resolved before the 20th November, 2016.

He said if the country cherishes its democracy, the issue of salaries and conditions for the lower court judges should not be handled in the manner in which this case has been handled.

He revealed that unfair attempts are being made to vary the terms of the agreement reached in 2011- something he doesn’t believe is justified.

He said a former Chief of Staff who played a key part in arriving at the terms in 2011 as well as all the key persons who participated in deliberations leading to the agreement are still alive and could be contacted to explain the rationale for the terms reached.

Speaking on Joy FM/MultiTV’s news analysis programme, Newsfile, Mr. Tandoh said many of the lower court judges left lucrative jobs abroad to come and serve their country.

He said it is demeaning to offer them meagre salaries and poor conditions of service.

According to him, a recent 10% pay rise benefited only Superior Court judges. The lower court judges were excluded.

Contributing to the discussion, Communications Minister, Dr. Edward Omane Boamah, said efforts are being made to deal with the issues.

He said a lawsuit at the Supreme Court challenging the President's power to vary the conditions of service judges affected the implementation agreed service conditions for the lower court judges.

But host of Newsfile, Samson Lardy Anyenini, pointed out to him that that case had nothing to do with the reviewed service conditions of the lower court judges.

Abdul Malik Kweku Baako, Editor-In-Chief of the New Crusading Guide newspaper, said if the state is too broke to pay the judges, it should say so.

He said it was embarrassing that the state could enter into an agreement with a critical institution such as the judiciary and renege on its promise.