By Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti
To prevent a repeat of what happened a couple of weeks ago at the Ekiti State university (EKSU), where over 600 workers were disengaged, organised labour has warned the management of the Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital (EKSUTH) against what it called mass sack of its workforce, to avert industrial disharmony between workers and Governor Kayode Fayemi-led administration.
Labour issued a 14-day ultimatum to EKSUTH management to find a way of resolving the issues surrounding the planned sack and effect payment of all outstanding salaries, deductions and other benefits to avert the withdrawal of services by staff of the institution.
The Chairmen of Trade Union Congress (TUC), Sola Adigun; Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Kolapo Olatunde; and Joint Negotiating Council (JNC), Kayode Fatomiluyi, spoke in Ado Ekiti on Monday after a closed-door meeting with the hospital’s management staff.
Adigun said rather than contemplating sacking any staff, the state government must look inwards and increase its internally generated revenue, so that subvention to the health institution can be increased.
The TUC boss added that organised labour would resist any attempt to sack workers without following public service laid down rules, saying sack was not the best option to compensate staff that had made sacrifices for effective healthcare delivery in the hospital.
“When we came for this interface, we thought it was a rumour that workers will be sacked. But we have confirmed the intending plan to sack our people here. We cannot allow our members to be working under a condition of service that is not palatable. They should not be in a hurry to sack because this will lead to withdrawal of services.
“We have issued a 14-day ultimatum for all issues to be resolved. Sack shouldn’t be a new year package for our members, because many are still working hard despite being owed several months of salaries and deductions, even without promotions.
“We say no to any unjustifiable sack of our members. What we are experiencing is not the best. A situation whereby you brought a consultant to conduct interviews for workers and sent the names of workers you felt should be disengaged to the media for announcement is not fashionable, it is not done like this anywhere.
“Government must look inwards and increase its IGR. Nigeria Customs Service has increased its monthly revenue generation by plugging all loopholes. There is also increment in oil supply at the international level, all these will help Ekiti economy in 2020 and sack is not the best option,” he said.
The NLC Chairman, Olatunde, and his counterpart in JNC, Fatomiluyi, advised that government shouldn’t perceive sack as panacea to irregular payment of salaries.
Olatunde said: “Anything done contrary to the civil service rules will be resisted. Workers are responsible people and would not condone indiscipline, because EKSUTH has no good reason to sack anybody with what we heard.
“In EKSU, they employed people in 2018 and used them to get accreditation, only for them to be sacked later. They must be given fear hearing. Anything outside public service rule is not acceptable to us.”
The Chairman, Joint Health Sectors Union (JOHESU), Farotimi Omotola, disagreed with the rumour that EKSUTH has more than enough staff, describing the hospital as grossly understaffed due to persistent brain drain being experienced in all departments.