General News of Monday, 17 July 2017
There seems to be tension and anger creeping within judges and magistrates with some of them threatening to go on strike over long-standing salary arrears not yet paid them.
In an exclusive interview with TV3, President of the Judges and Magistrates Association Justice Victor Ofoe on Monday said they were engaged in a closed-door meeting to press on the Chief Justice to engage government on their demands. Members of the Association threatened to embark on an industrial strike starting Tuesday.
However, the meeting with the Chief Justice, Sophia Akuffo, had led to the suspension of that action.
The President of the Judges and Magistrates Association, who doubles as a Court of Appeal judge, said members will not have any other option than to embark on an industrial action if government does not respond appropriately.
He indicated that the disturbing aspect of the situation is that the Legislature and past members of the Executive have received their salary arrears but that of the judges and the magistrates have been neglected.
“Arrears of salaries that have been outstanding for some time now, that of parliamentarians and the executive or some of the executive, we know, have been paid, [but] the judges have not been paid. Yes and that is where the agitation is coming from.”
The lower courts, he said, are also threatening because of failure of government to reconstitute the Judicial Council to review their salaries, an action carried out in 2013.
“Secondly and also very important is the fact that lower court judges’ salaries have not been reviewed since 2013 and it’s the Judicial Council that can do the review and up till now the Judicial Council haven’t been reconstituted.
“They don’t see the reason the Council should not be reconstituted to come and examine the review of the salaries so all the lower courts all over the country are really virtually on arms.”