Victor Ogunje in Ado-Ekiti
Workers of Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital (EKSUTH) would on Monday (January 12) commence industrial action, if the management fails to reverse the “illegal” sack of their members.
About 200 workers of the hospital were last December sacked by the management, but some have been reinstated due to pressure from organised labour.
Dropping the hint of industrial action in Ado-Ekiti yesterday, the chairperson, Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU), Comrade Omotola Farotimi, said the strike ought to have started today (Friday), but the management of the hospital has been given additional three-day grace to have a rethink over the issue.
Farotimi said the management has been given the opportunity to enter into a memorandum of understanding with the labour, which she insisted must be backed with a letter to extract assurances that all the sacked workers would be recalled before shelving the strike.
“We have given the management another extension of three days and it will end on Sunday (January 12) and if nothing is done before that day, there will be total shutdown of the system at EKSUTH from Monday.
“The management said they have told some workers to return to their duty posts, but we don’t want verbal assurance, let them back it up with a letter and this must be done before Sunday.
“We thank God that the engagement we had with the management is yielding positive results. Those compulsorily retired has been recalled and we want others who were illegally sacked to return to work to guarantee industrial harmony,” he said.
Farotimi faulted the disengagement of some workers on the strength that they were employed in 2018 when there was an embargo on employment.
“The management said those that were employed between July and December 2018 were illegal workers, because there was an embargo then. These workers were given letters of disengagement on January 2. We asked for the memo about the embargo, but none was produced.
“It is sad that workers in some critical areas in the clinical sector were sacked based on this flimsy excuses,” she said.
Also speaking, the organised labour through the Secretary of the Joint Negotiating Council, Comrde Gbenga Olowoyo, said there may be sympathy strike from other sectors of the civil service should government allow the strike to commence.
“The extension was made by labour to follow due process. We are not fighting the government but the management of EKSUTH who are surreptitiously dealing with our people on daily basis.
“We are giving a total backing to this proposed strike, because you can’t hoodwink people through a stage-managed report. It has to be evaluated. That was the mistake they made at EKSU where lecturers were mistakenly captured on the sack list, because the report was not reviewed. They forgot they were dealing with human beings and not animals.
“There will be sympathy strike from all workers, because they are unhappy about the way our people were given sack letters on December 31 when they were in celebration mood. They want us to resort to suicide; we won’t allow that to happen,” he added.