Ondo health workers drag Akeredolu to court over demotion, victimisation

Health workers in Ondo State have approached the National Industrial Court with a N20 million suit against the state governor, Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN) over alleged unlawful demotion, victimisation, reduction and deduction of their salaries.

Joined as defendants in the suit numbered: NICN/AK/66/2018, are the Ondo State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice and Ondo State Local Government Service Commission.

Tolorunju Amoko and 17 other claimants filed the suit through their counsel, Tolu Babaleye, for themselves and on behalf of the entire workers of Health Assistant Cadre in the 18 Local Government Area of Ondo State.

According to the suit,  the claimants and the people they represent are lawfully and gainfully employed by the Ondo State Local Government Service Commission (3rd defendant) as Per Cadre  Workers and have been so, until 2013 when the 3rd defendant under the directive of the state governor, conducted periodic screening exercise in all the 18 Local Government Areas in the state in which all the claimants and the people they represent participated.

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It is the case of the claimants that, “After the screening exercise, the 3rd defendant instead of publishing the result and or promoting the workers, went ahead to demote those who do not have additional higher qualifications or certificates, while some were demoted from grade level 8 to level 7.

In addition, those that were using the Senior Secondary School Certificate (SSCE) were not demoted in their grade level of employment but their salaries were deducted and slashed to the barest minimum, contrary to their terms of employment.

In a 41- page statement of facts, the claimants chronicled their ordeals and acts of the defendants which they claimed, have subjected them to severe hardship.

They further discovered that their names moved from the primary health cadre voucher to that of administrative cadre, while they worked as primary health care providers in their various Local Governments they were paid as administrative staff.

The claimants said they no longer enjoyed the benefits accruable to primary health workers in the entire 18 Local Government of the state even as they still face all the hazards associated with the job of health caregivers.

They are consequently praying the court for an order quashing the demotion and deduction of the salaries of the claimants without any reasonable justification is illegal and runs contrary to the stipulation and guidelines of their employment.

An order of court quashing the demotion, reduction and deduction in salary of the claimants for being illegal and contrary to their terms of employment, as no circular or letter was issued by the defendants to that effect.

An order mandating the defendants, especially Governor Akeredulu to absorb them into the higher cadre of the career in line with the extant Local Government Service rules applicable in Ondo State.

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