Francisca Tete-Mensah — President of the Association of State Attorneys
Francisca Tete-Mensah — President of the Association of State Attorneys

State Attorneys withdraw services but NLC says action is illegal

Members of the Association of State Attorneys (ASA) are on an indefinite strike, but the National Labour Commission (NLC) says the action is illegal.


The NLC has, therefore, directed the striking attorneys to resume work, while their grievances are resolved.

The lawyers for the state began the strike on October 20, 2016, after serving a seven-day ultimatum to state agencies to resolve their call for improved conditions of service.

But the NLC, in a letter dated October 20, 2016, and signed by its Executive Secretary, Mr Charles A. Bawaduah, directed the association to resume work because “any strike embarked upon by the Association of State Attorneys in respect of this matter is illegal, unlawful and ought to be called off with immediate effect.”

The NLC further directed the Ministry of Finance and the Controller and Accountant General not to pay the remuneration of any member of the association who was taking part in the strike.

It also directed the parties to report back to the commission to continue with their negotiations on November 16, 2016.

The parties are the Association of State Attorneys (ASA), the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, the Minister of Finance, the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, the Chief Executive of the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC) and the National President of ASA.


According to the letter, the NLC met the parties on October 19, 2016, after an earlier meeting on October 12, 2016. At the said meeting, ASA executive said a compulsory arbitration award rendered by the NLC on September 28, 2015, had not been complied with by their employers, hence the need to embark on the strike to ensure the enforcement of the award.

According to the NLC, after hearing the parties, it concluded that three out of five issues in respect of the harmonisation of salaries of complainants with that of lower court judges; payment of arrears of emoluments arising from the said harmonisation by December 31, 2015, and a directive to the complainants to submit their Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) numbers to the Attorney-General for onward submission to the Controller and Accountant General’s Department (CAGD), had been resolved.

The commission said it also directed that the issue of the retention of the complainants on the Single Spine Salary Structure (SSSS) should be referred to the Supreme Court for determination.

“The commission notes the claim by the Association of State Attorneys that they had presented proposed conditions of service to the Legal Service Board but had not received a response could not be substantiated because there was no evidence to prove same.

“The National Labour Commission has also not been copied with any such proposed conditions of service,” the letter stated.

Re-submit proposal

The NLC has consequently directed the ASA to “re-submit the said proposed conditions of service to the Legal Service Board to negotiate and complete the conditions of service for the association within two weeks from the date of receipt of the proposals failing which the commission shall determine the conditions upon further hearing the parties.”

It said following from the foregoing, it would be unlawful for either party to engage in any strike action or lock-out over the matter in line with provisions of section 161 (1) of the Labour Act, 2003 (Act 651).

It, therefore, concluded by declaring the ASA strike illegal.


The association, in 2015, embarked on strike for weeks but called it off in August after the National Labour Commission (NLC) subjected it and state agencies to a compulsory arbitration.

In a notice to embark on a legal strike, dated October 6, 2016, the National President of the association, Mrs Francisca Tete-Mensah, said although the NLC on September 28, 2015, directed the implementation of improved conditions of service of ASA members, that order had not been obeyed.

It said the association was taking a serious view of the refusal of the respondents to comply with the NLC’s directives, which to them were supposed to be binding on all members.


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