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Judicial service staff embark on partial strike; issue ultimatum

By Myjoyonline.com | Isaac Essel

The Judicial Service Staff Association of Ghana (JUSAG) has embarked on what it describes as a partial strike pending an all-out strike on Monday if government fails to release its subvention by Friday.

Members of the association will between now and Friday go to work but will be at their desk without carrying out any administrative work, President of the Association, Francis Brakwah told Joy FM's Top Story on Tuesday.

The Judicial Service Staff Association of Ghana had serviced notice to go on strike on Tuesday but had to suspend it partially after the intervention of an unnamed official today.

“From tomorrow (Wednesday) we are going to be in red armbands,” Mr Brakwah said, noting that after Friday if “nothing positive” is heard from the government, nothing will stop them from going on an indefinite strike from Monday.

However, the action, if carried through on Monday will not affect the controversial election petition before the Supreme Court, JUSAG president assured. He said members at the Supreme Court will “stay and work so that the strike doesn't affect the election petition”.

Mr Brakwah explained that because the outcome of the election petition affects all and sundry in the country “we don't have to disturb it,” but same cannot be said for the other cases.

He said the association had to embark on a similar action to get their subvention released last year.

The strike action is most likely to grind the administration of justice to a halt as the judicial service staff complement the effort of judges and magistrates to dispense justice.

But the Association is very much aware of the implications of the strike on the administration of justice. Its president remarked: “We know our action is going to affect the cases but we have no option.”

He said the government should be concerned about the issue at stake and its implications, and come out quickly to arrest the situation.

He underscored that the Association is not calling for “nothing strange” like negotiation for allowance or salary but for their subvention.

Meanwhile, Sam Okudzeto, a former president of the Ghana Bar Association has established the importance of the JUSAG, pointing out that it is important for the public to appreciate that the administration of justice does not only lie with judges but also the judicial service staff.

The registrar, persons who file dockets, translators among others are members of JUSAG, and “no procedures can actually take place without them,” the renowned lawyer averred, adding, “if they go on strike, technically the administration of justice grinds to a halt”.