The problem been faced by Polytechnics graduate in the Nigeria labour market is something that has been troubling Polytechnic graduates and other holders of the Higher National Diploma. But this time around, they are not sitting down, as they have moved forward and have sued the Federal Government for alleged discrimination in promotion, employment and remuneration against them in the public service.
The polytechnics graduates and holders filed the suit before the National Industrial Court in Abuja.
The plaintiffs are challenging the alleged discrimination against them, which they tagged “career progression in public service.”
The plaintiffs in the suit are as follows:
The holders and polytechnics graduates also went on to claim that they are suing for themselves and on behalf of HND holders in public service.
The defendants are the National Council on Establishments, Head of the Civil Service of the Federation and the Attorney General of the Federation.
The plaintiffs are praying for, among others, an order directing the defendants to implement the directives contained in the Government White Paper on the report of the Presidential Committee on the Consolidation of Emoluments in the Public Sector.
In a supporting affidavit, Bello averred that President Olusegun Obasanjo had, in 2004 and 2005, embarked on public sector reform and constituted a committee that addressed the disparities in the public service.
Bello also went further to disclosed that a White Paper Committee was set up in 2007 for the consolidation of public service’ employees’ emoluments, and that in 2008 an Implementation Committee was also set up, which made recommendations.
Bello also did stated that despite these “recommendations and conclusions, the applicants and other holders of the HND certificates are still being discriminated against and still suffer at the various work places.”
Hearing in the case was stalled on Friday following an application by the counsel for the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, A.K Kamar, seeking time to file a reply.
He said the office of his client was not aware that the case was fixed for hearing on Friday.
Plaintiffs’ lawyer, Nnaemeka Ejiofor, told the court that despite their competence, HND holders in the public service were not allowed to rise beyond Grade Level 14 as against their university graduate counterparts.
The presiding judge, Justice Babatunde Adejumo, ordered the defendants to file all necessary processes before the next date and adjourned till September 18 for hearing.
This will be one public case, since this is one of the reason why the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) have been on strike since the 4th of October 2013.
We will be keeping tabs of things around this case and will update you about the latest hearings among other things.