Posted by News Express | 10 June 2016 | 2,314 times
The hope for resolution of ongoing strike by health workers at Federal Medical Centre (FMC) Yenagoa dimmed on Friday as a meeting between labour leaders and management ended in a stalemate.
The National Union of Allied Health Professionals, (NUAHP) FMC Yenagoa chapter had on May 11, 2016 commenced an indefinite strike over pay cuts in the salaries of staff at the hospital since January 2016.
The strike has paralysed the out-patients and laboratory services as well as the physiotherapy, radiotherapy and records departments of the hospital since May 11. It was gathered that a meeting with the management team led by the Chief Medical Director (CMD), Dr. Dennis Allagoa, ended in a stalemate as the workers representatives staged a walk out. Mr. Oginike Lante, Chairman, NUAHP said that the labour leaders walked out of the meeting in disappointment following the hard stance posture of management which did not meet the minimum expectation of workers.
“There was nothing new that management offered apart from the promises we have been hearing since January, and the threat that we should accept the promise ‘now or never’ and that was unacceptable to workers,” Lante said.
He disclosed that they were compelled to commence the indefinite strike after giving the mandatory 28 days notice following many unfulfilled promises and vowed that workers will not return to work until they get full salaries and arrears. However, the CMD in a reaction explained that the problem was as a result of budgetary shortfall in the hospital, noting that the health workers were being paid 53.7 percent of their salaries with available funds.
Sources at the hospital had disclosed that out of about N240 million wage bill of the hospital, it received less than N180 million. Allagoa said that the hospital management had informed the Federal Ministry of Health of the development and remained hopeful that the issue will be resolved soon.
“From January this year, we saw that our budget was N173 million and that amount was insufficient to pay both new employees and old ones. We reached out to the government and they asked us to pay whatever we have.
“They promised that they will give us a supplementary budget, and the striking workers can verify this. Therefore, the money came to 53.7 per cent,” he said.
He added that since the hospital in Otuoke was merged with the FMC in 2014, there were new employments, which put pressure on the declining budget.
“Otuoke came on board and there were new employments. At the end of every budget year, money is mopped up. We are paying what we are given, but this June, I have assured them that they are getting 100 percent.
“They have refused, we asked them to come back to work, but they said no, and by the new rules, if you don’t work, you don’t get paid.
“They should not put themselves in a situation where they are at the verge of being paid and they are saying they don’t want to work. I have been in Abuja, day to day, month to month. I came in on Saturday. “We will pay 100 percent this month,” he said.
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