Health workers in the Ondo State Civil Service have dragged Governor Rotimi Akeredolu to the National Industrial Court in Akure, the state capital, for allegedly demoting them and deducting their salaries illegally.
Other defendants in the suit are the state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice and the Ondo State Local Government Service Commission.
It was gathered that the workers, who were said to be over 2,000 across the 18 local government areas of the state, alleged that the defendants had been shortchanging them since 2013.
It was also learnt that the claimants, who were employed by the Ondo State Local Government Service Commission as health workers, were tactically demoted since 2013 as they were being paid as administration officers, which had led to the reduction of their salaries.
In the suit number: NICN/AK/66/2018, filed by their counsel, Mr Tolu Babaleye, the claimants asked the court to correct the purported abnormalities.
However, at the court proceedings on Monday, counsel for the defendants, Mr T.O. Coker, raised preliminary objection against the suit saying the claimants had not served them the pre-action notice.
But Babaleye argued that the defendants had been served pre-action notice twice in 2017 and 2018, saying the law establishing the Ondo State Local Government Service Commission provided for 30 days for the pre-action notice to be served but they had served them ( defendants) over a year.
In her ruling, Justice Oyejoju Oyewumi dismissed the preliminary objection of the defendant and held that the claimants served the pre-action notice to the defendants and that the case was properly constituted.
The judge declared that full hearing of the case would commence on July 1 and 2, 2019.
Speaking with our correspondent after the proceedings, the claimants’ counsel, Babaleye said the aggrieved health workers “were recruited as health workers and all their promotions were done for them as health workers but when they want to pay them salaries, they pay them as administrative officers.”
He said, “They have been complaining about this matter since 2013, they have written a series of letters to the parties concerned, but it is as if nobody is ready to listen to them.
“From the information at our disposal, they prepared the vouchers for them as health workers and ended up paying them as administrative officers. So, we want to know where the differential in the vouchers is going since 2013.”
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