Health Workers under the aegis of Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) have protested nonpayment of salaries, promotions and other worrying issues biting them at the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, UCTH.
The protest which commenced on Monday, February 11th, entered day 2 on Tuesday, February 12th with the workers taking their stands on their needs-to-be-met campaign.
CALABAR REPORTERS learnt that the protest started from the Club House to the entrance of the admin wing, thus disrupting activities and businesses in the hospital.
However, the protesters had with them various placards with messages ranging from nonpayment of salaries, promotion allowances, equity, unwholesome interference by the Minister of Health and others.
Addressing newsmen at the hospital on Tuesday in Calabar, one of the executives, Comr. Bassey Icha said that the workers did not just went out of their way to protest over the said grievances, but it was borne out of the nonchalant attitude of management after series of letters have been written to them.
He further told newsmen that the directive to protest came from their leadership in Abuja as the protest was nationwide and not peculiar to UCTH as many alleged.
The address to newsmen which was interrupted with intermediate chant such as, “all we saying, give us our right and so on” had on its table the frequent interference of administrative activities by doctors and other medics as they seek to impose their authority on other areas outside their jurisdiction.
Further issues raised include:
1. Unpaid salaries for April/May of 2018. The period they were on strike over the harmonisation of salary. Interestingly, some workers have been paid whereas others are yet to receive theirs, which is a clear case of selective attention. Their anger stem from the fact that every taxable deduction have been made and with their pay slip clearly showing that the monies have been paid but it was yet to reflect in their account.
2. Injustice by doctors and uncanny wielding of authority hence attempting to monopolize the Federal Ministry of Health not giving room for professional autonomy to persist. A total neglect of the Hospital Act which also gives room for the employment of non-medical consultants.
3. Series of letters stating their complaints which the Federal Government did little or nothing to it until the intervention of the National Assembly, the DSS, the National Industrial Court and other bodies.
4. Circular by the Minister for Health withholding April/May salaries despite court order restraining him from victimisation.
5. Declaration by the Labour Minister branding the strike as illegal despite letters that were written to this effect. Yet deduction for tax and third party deduction such as cooperative have been done. Where is the money? Because our pay slips state that it has been paid? This is nothing but fraud.
6. Promotion arrears since 2016.
Surprisingly, the Hospital Management denied knowledge of the circular to the protest rally and hence could not comment about it. To this end, they were served with another immediately and they promised to respond as soon as they were able to communicate with Abuja their Headquarter.
However, a top management staff who came in within the protest period branded the protesting workers as noise makers. He said, “let them continue making a noise, they think salary is paid here, they better take their protest to Abuja and allow us be in peace”.