Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti
The organised labour in Ekiti State and the management of the Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital (EKSUTH) are heading for a showdown over the sack of 200 staff of the health institution.
The workers were retrenched in December 2019 through a process called reorganisation by the EKSUTH management, but which labour and other allied unions, had succinctly described as “illegality and infringement of the civil service rules”.
Speaking for the staff, who are mostly experts in various fields on Thursday, the organised labour via the Chairperson, Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU), EKSUTH chapter, Omotola Farotimi, said the management’s indiscretion will affect the hospital adversely.
She said: “We have heard of it as a rumour for a long period of time that some people will be disengaged. Since that time, we have been meeting with the management to find out what was going on. Even the organized labour in Ekiti was with the management on December 30. They told the management to pass through the normal Civil Service rules even if they want to disengage any staff, they should not do anything that will be against the public service rules.
“But unfortunately on December 31, when we got to work and people were being given letters, there were different errors that were made. Some were disengaged based on the claim that there was embargo on employment when they were employed.
“EKSUTH is autonomous. We asked for the letter of embargo that time, they could not produce any letter to that effect. If there is need for employment, hospitals need professionals, there was no time that former Governor Fayose gave any order of embargo on employment at EKSUTH, these people were duly employed by advertising and employing them.
“We are against the purported exercise that they have done in the hospital. Another error was that the professional groups were grossly sacked while the admin area was not touched. We, the professionals are not even enough. The professionals are the ones making the IGR in the hospital, they were grossly disengaged.”
Farotimi foresaw that the hospital is on the edge of collapse, saying: “It can be closed down because most of these professionals are the ones that help in getting accreditation for most of the departments in the hospital. There is a number of doctors we are supposed to have from officers to consultants, number of nurses on ground, number of medical laboratory scientists, number of pharmacists etc including health assistants that must be had before getting accreditation.
“The sack affected the medical laboratory sciences dept, pharmacy department, physiotherapy, health assistants, a lot of nurses and medical doctors. We are still gathering our information, we will meet our extended executive and decide the next line of action.”
But a statement by the hospital’s Public Relations Officer, Mrs Rolake Adewumi, said the reorganisation was part of the implementation of the visitation panel’s report on EKSUTH.
“As a result of the report, it has become necessary to disengage some workers who did not show up for the Human Resources verification exercise and who could not be sighted till date, and so were regarded as ‘ghost workers’.
“Others include those on leave of absence with/without pay who had exhausted the approved period of leave and refused to resume.
“Another category were those who were found with one misconduct or the other as well as those employed after the state government placed embargo on employment,” she said.
The spokesperson added that based on the recommendations, some critical areas of needs were filled with qualified appointees, while members who were wrongly placed have been regularized and placed on appropriate salary levels.
“Therefore, the management has urged any of the disengaged officers who are not satisfied with this development to channel their complaints to the board of management of the hospital, through the office of the Director of Administration,” she stated.