Gov’t Panics Over Judges’ Strike
Prosper Kweku Bani
Government, it has been gathered, is making all frantic efforts to restore the salaries of judges and magistrates a few days to their intended strike action over their pay cuts.
A source close to the Judicial Service told DAILY GUIDE that the Chief of Staff, Prosper Kweku Bani, on Saturday called the Judicial Secretary, Justice Alex Opoku-Acheampong, and asked him to plead with the judges to rescind their decision to lay down their tools.
According to the source, Bani had informed the Judicial Secretary that the government would restore the over 50% cut in the salaries of the judges within a few days.
DAILY GUIDE learnt that Justice Opoku-Acheampong in turn informed the judges that government had promised a restoration of their salaries within days and pleaded with them to hold on their intended strike action.
The paper was further informed that Mr. Prosper Bani had written a letter to the Controller and Accountant-General’s Department on May 5, 2014, concerning the restoration of the salaries, which is to take effect by the end of this month.
The lower courts judges last week threatened to lay down their tools on May 6, 2014, to register their displeasure with the inability of government to restore their salaries while those (salaries) of other sector workers had been increased.
The magistrates and the judges held a meeting a few months ago where there was a split decision among them as to whether to go on a strike immediately or give government up to the end of April.
They finally decided to give government up to the end of April to make a decision and consequently planned a strike action for May 6.
It will be recalled that judges of the lower courts had suffered 50 percent pay cut on the orders of the Chief of Staff.
The government was last year sued by Samuel Ampomah, a farmer, over the pay cut but the State informed the court, presided over by Justice William Atuguba, that it wanted an out-of-court settlement over the issue and the case was consequently withdrawn.
A few months after the out-of-court settlement, the Finance and Economic Planning Minister, Seth Terkper, has failed to ensure a restoration of the salaries.
Mr. Terkper, according to a reliable source at the Controller and Accountant-General’s Department, had indicated that the salaries of the judges could not be restored because there was no money. The Minister’s decision apparently impelled the judges to decide to down their tools on the above-stated date.
BY Fidelia Achama
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