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General News of Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Source: GNA

SC strikes out Motion of ex-employees of Graphic

Accra, Feb 27, GNA - The Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday struck out a Motion brought before it on behalf of 155 former employees of the Graphic Communications Group by Mr. Ray Kakrabah-Quarshie, an Accra Legal Practitioner, in connection with their entitlements. This followed the withdrawal of the motion by Mr. Kakrabah-Quarshie after the five-member panel, presided over by Mr Justice William Atuguba had drawn his attention to the fact that his application was not properly before the court.

According to the court, the directive it gave in its judgment of July 13, 2005 was crystal clear, because it asked the two parties to come back to the court "in case of any irresolvable difficulties for directions" in connection with the computation of the entitlement figures due to the re-deployed workers.

Mr. Kakrabah-Quarshie told the court that his understanding of the directive was that it was Graphic alone which should have worked out the figures due to its ex-workers, and in his view, he was coming to court because he felt the corporation failed to comply with the court's directive.

At this juncture, the court impressed upon counsel that the directive instructed both parties to come together and work the figures out. However since his clients failed to consult the party on the other side, his application was misplaced and could therefore not be entertained. Mr Kakrabah-Quarshie then took a cue from the bench, and withdrew his application honourably.

Mr J. K. Agyemang, counsel for Graphic told the court that it was unfortunate that counsel on the other side had wasted the court's time by unnecessarily dragging his client to court, and asked that cost be awarded against him.

In Mr Agyemang's view, Graphic had paid its former employees all their entitlements, and that the corporation did not owe any of them. At this juncture, the court warned Mr Kakrabah-Quarshie to ensure that if in future he decided to come back to court, he should come with a proper application, or suffer punitive cost.

When Graphic re-deployed the 155 workers in 1993, it paid compensation packages of two and four months' salaries respectively to its junior and senior employees, irrespective of the number of years they had served.

Not satisfied with the package, the ex-workers took the matter to the High Court, and in 1995, the presiding judge, Mr Justice Gyamerah Tawiah ruled in the workers favour.

Six months later, Graphic challenged the High Court's decision at the Court of Appeal, but in 2004, the matter was transferred to the SC for proper interpretation of the High Court's judgment.

On July 13, 2005, SC came out with its judgment, directing parties on both sides to put their heads together and ensure the affected workers got what was due them.

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