Industrial action Come to negotiation table - NLC directs state attorneys and govt

The NLC said what was important was the resolution of any challenge relating to the conditions of service of state attorneys and not engage in a blame game.

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Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Marietta Brew Appiah Oppong play

Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Marietta Brew Appiah Oppong

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The National Labour Commission (NLC) has urged all parties critical to the resolution of the grievances of state attorneys to come to the table and commit to resolving any challenge, as the opportunity has been created by the commission for that purpose.

The NLC said what was important was the resolution of any challenge relating to the conditions of service of state attorneys and not engage in a blame game.

The acting Executive Secretary of the NLC, Dr Mrs Bernice Welbeck, made the call in an interview with the Daily Graphic in Accra yesterday, a week after state attorneys embarked on a strike.

She said the complaints of the state attorneys had been referred for compulsory arbitration.

She said all parties involved in the resolution of the issue had been written to on processes leading to a compulsory arbitration, with three days for the arbitration to start.

Dr Mrs Welbeck emphasised that by the Labour Act 651, once a compulsory arbitration process had begun, all actions pertaining to a grievance in relation to employment or conditions of service were to be stayed.

Challenges

She explained that when the commission received the complaint of the state attorneys about their conditions of service, it had to write to other state agencies and institutions, as the attorneys’ grievances bordered on some legal and administrative issues, with legal documents supporting their claim.

She said the NLC wrote to the Attorney General, the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Finance.

She said in all correspondence to the parties involved, state attorneys had always been copied and the letters delivered to their known address, the Attorney-General’s Office.

While the Attorney-General’s Department responded to the request of the commission, the Ministry of Finance responded by saying that the issues were within the jurisdiction of the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC).

The NLC had to, therefore, write to the FWSC but had had no response to its first letter.

Dr Mrs Welbeck said the NLC subpoenaed the FWSC to respond to the letter and it was at that time that the commission received a letter from the state attorneys stating their intention to embark on a strike.

She said the NLC immediately invited all the parties to a meeting, but before the date of the meeting, the attorneys embarked on the strike.

She said last Friday, July 10, 2015, the NLC received another complaint, that time from the Ministry of Justice and Attorney General to intervene in the industrial action of the state attorneys.

She said once again all the parties were written to to attend a meeting yesterday. However, only the respondents, the Ministry of Justice and Attorney General, acknowledged and went to the meeting.

She said the respondents were heard in the absence of the complainants and the issue had been referred for compulsory arbitration.

Issues

State attorneys on Tuesday, July 7, 2015 embarked on an indefinite strike to back their demands for outstanding allowances and improved conditions of service.

The striking attorneys demanded the harmonisation of their salaries and benefits with those of judges at the lower courts with effect from 2012.

They maintained that they were using their own resources to run government business.

The attorneys also demanded to be placed on the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) Pension Scheme.

Source: graphic.com.gh

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