General News of Sunday, 22 January 2017
President of the Association of State Attorneys, Francisca Tete-Mensah has confirmed that they have called off their three months strike and would resume work on Monday, January 23.
She told Joy News that when President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo assumed office, he assured members of the Association that being a former Attorney General and a lawyer, he would ensure that their concerns are addressed.
The Association was at the Labour Commission for compulsory arbitration where its demands were awarded but the former Attorney General, Ministry of Finance and Fair Wages and Salaries Commission failed to respect the agreement.
The AG’s office, led by Marietta Brew Appiah-Oppong described the strike as illegal, and further directed the State Attorneys to return to work by Tuesday, January 3, 2017, or be “considered as having vacated post.”
The Association, however, insisted their strike is legal, noting that it was pursuant to a statutory notice under Section 159 (b) of Act 651.
The attorneys also blamed the National Labour Commission for the impasse, explaining that the Commission should have gone to the High Court to compel the government to improve their conditions of service.
The incoming A-G revealed during her vetting by Parliament on Saturday that the State Attorneys will resume work on Monday following a meeting with the President.
President of the Association of State Attorneys said “based on that [meeting with President], we asked him to put it [assurances] on paper…and he directed his executive secretary to give us that paper,” the President of the Association said, adding “we received the letter Friday so we called off the strike.”
Some of the demands of the striking members of the Association of State Attorney include payments of correct harmonised salaries, housing facilities, sustainable pension scheme, free official vehicles, and research allowance
Asked by Joy News’ Beatrice Adu if all their demands have been met, Mrs Tete-Mensah said, “the award would solve the problem of pension and conditions of service. We did not have the conditions of service at all.”
“The award talks about harmonisation of salaries and benefits with those of the lower court bench,” she explained.
The agreement she stated further was dated September 28, 2015, and is supposed to take retrospective effect from 2012.
However, Mrs Tete-Mensah explained that “this agreement would respect the award and we would now have to sit down and look at how we would go about it for the enforcement to take place.”
The Association had also spoken about the need to meet the incoming AG, Gloria Akuffo. That meeting has been slated for Tuesday, January 24.
The incoming Attorney-General, an astute lawyer who served as President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s deputy when he served as Attorney General in the Kufuor government, has also promised to work on the conditions of service for the Attorney General’s Department which has become an issue lately.
Gloria Akuffo says she is concerned that a lot of professionals have either opted to work in the private sector or abandoned working at the Department because of the poor working conditions.