The Ondo State Government has sacked some recently employed nurses, who embarked on a protest to demand payment of their accumulated salary arrears, SaharaReporters can confirm.
The six nurses, who worked at the University of Medical Sciences Teaching Hospital both in Akure and Ondo town, were laid off on February 14, 2020.
It was gathered that the affected nurses were employed in batches in June 2019 and were placed on three-month probation.
The termination letters of the affected nurses was signed by Acting Director of Administration, Mr Adeeyo Babatunde, on behalf of the Chief Medical Director of the University of Medical Sciences Teaching Hospital, Ondo, Dr Oluwole Ige.
The sacked nurses had in December 2019 embarked on a protest to press for the payment of their salaries after pleas to the hospital's management were ignored.
One of the affected nurses, who spoke with SaharaReporters, described the termination of their appointments by the Ondo State Government as victimisation for speaking out against injustice.
“When some people were employed in June and July, they were expecting three months salaries in September or October but the government refused to pay and people began to agitate for it having worked well during that period.
“When government noticed that people were asking for their salaries, they decided to hurriedly call for a peace meeting with the nurses in October 2019.
“It was at the meeting that they decided to choose some of us to represent our aggrieved colleagues anytime there were meetings with the management.
“At that point, they made a promise to pay the salaries by November, we believed them and kept working but they never fulfilled their promise.
“We embarked on a warning strike in December and surprisingly we received payment for one month the next day instead of three months salaries.
“Thereafter, they mounted pressure on us to call off the strike, we agreed and resumed work after they again promised to pay the remaining salary arrears.
“A few weeks later, we wrote another letter to tell them that if the arrears was not paid, we would embark on fresh industrial action.
“On December 23, 2019 we all agreed to embark on another strike which lasted five days and it was after this that we received another payment for one month.
“The management put pressure on us to call off the strike and on December 28, we again suspended the strike and resumed back to work,” the nurse said.
Speaking further, he disclosed that on January 23, 2020, the management of the hospital called for a meeting of all nurses and gave them query letters, accusing them of absconding from their duty posts.
“In our responses to the query, we let the management know that it was the Chief Medical Director of the hospital that said we could go home and return to work after receiving payment.
“As at January, they were still owing us up to four months salaries but doctors were being paid promptly.
“We consulted the management to know what exactly was going on but they kept assuring us that we would be paid but we told them that if by February 2 we didn't see our salary arrears, we were going to embark on another strike.
“Before we knew it, they sacked us and even instructed us to submit all hospital’s properties in our possession.
“Although, the leadership of our union intervened by writing a letter of appeal to the management to reinstate us and instructed those of us affected to write letters of apology.
“We eventually wrote the letters after being forced to do so. But up till this moment, we are yet to be reinstated or paid for the service we rendered.”
Chief Medical Director of the hospital, Dr Ige, could not be reached for comments but Chairman of the Medical Advisory Council of the teaching hospital, Dr Micheal Gbala, confirmed the sack of the nurses when contacted by SaharaReporters.
He however, said the management of the hospital was already considering recalling the sacked nurses after receiving their letters of apology.
Gbala said, “Well, the affected nurses had already written an apology letter to this effect.
“Even though the management is already considering reinstating them into the system, they need to also ensure that they help themselves and do not do what will jeopardise ongoing efforts.”