The striking lawyers at the Attorney General’s office across the country have expressed their disappointment in their boss Mrs. Marietta Brew Appiah-Opong over the way she is handling their concerns.
According to the aggrieved lawyers, their disappointing boss seems not to care about their welfare and appeared compromising the solidarity she showed them earlier.
They claimed that as their immediate leader, the least they expected from her was not the warpath she has chosen to engage them in, for they are only seeking an implementation of their rightful benefits as captured by law.
The disturbed lawyers indicated that, about three years ago, the President instructed the Ministry of Finance and the Justice Ministry to, as a matter of fairness and law, harmonise the lawyers’ conditions of service with that of their colleagues at the lower courts when they vehemently rejected being captured under the single spine.
They are at a lost at how a directive from the Presidency could be refused by ministers of state with such impunity, hence their strike now.
They submitted the strike is just to press home their demand for monies they have worked for and backed by law. ‘These are no new demands,’ they maintained.
According to the lawyers who are not thinking of returning to office until their demands are met, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General, initially bought into their case and went to the Chief of Staff to try and resolve the matter.’She bought into our case, accompanied us to see the Chief of Staff, so how she suddenly backtracked beats our imagination as our boss and as a person of principle’, they added.
According to them, the Minister appears to be influenced by the Deputy Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Dominic Akuriting Ayine who from day one has rejected their concerns.
The lawyers stressed that, they have been cheated for far too long.
They did not understand why as legal persons who fight for others to enjoy their respective human rights as captured by law, are being forsaken by their own professional colleagues.
Instead of their bosses fighting for better conditions of service for them to enable them deliver quality and speedy legal services to the people of Ghana, their bosses have rather become their key opposers.
According to them, their demands are legal as captured by the Legal Service Law 1993 (PNDCL 320) section 5 which deals with Salaries and Benefits of Officers and states in part that, ‘the salaries and benefits attached to the posts in the Service shall be the same as those applicable to posts in the Judiciary and the Judicial service requiring equivalent professional experience…’
The disappointed lawyers urged the ministry to implement the law. They insisted that they must be treated as the judges of the Circuit Court, District Magistrate Grade I and II as contained in the Legal Service Law 1993.
Until that is speedily executed, the AG’s Department would continue to underperform. Currently a lawyer in the department is assigned to about 7-9 cases in a day. This explains why many cases are always adjourned and the public not impressed. There are just four lawyers at the AG’s department across northern Ghana; Tamale, Bolgatanga and Wa.
Checks by DAILY GUIDE revealed that, about a year ago the staff strength was about 200 lawyers but as at now, only 160. 60 of them have left the department largely due to the uncaring nature of ministers who head the department and are now with the bench.
They claimed since the strike started, all the meetings never saw any negotiations or mutual discussions; ‘the ministry has never tried to call for negotiations or discussions.’
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