Security men, cleaners protest, lock UCH gates

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Olufemi Atoyebi, Ibadan

Patients and members of staff of the University College Hospital, Ibadan, experienced difficulty in gaining entry into the hospital premises on Monday morning after security men and cleaners at the facility embarked on strike, locking the two gates leading to the hospital.

Our correspondent learnt that the workers were protesting against the non-payment of their 11 months’ salaries by the hospital.

There was a gridlock at both ends of the hospital as motorists were unable to move freely as a result of the buildup of the hospital’s workers’ vehicles at the gates.

As early as 7am, both roads became impassable with hundreds of other road users, including workers heading to the state secretariat nearby, trapped in the congestion.

Many patients who had early appointment at the hospital lamented the situation.

One of the workers, who pleaded anonymity, accused the Chief Medical of the hospital, Prof. Temitope Alonge, of deliberately withholding the funds meant for their salaries.

She said, “We have endured 11 months without salaries. Can the CMD endure a month without salary? But we are considered lowly in the ranks of members of staff of the hospital so our money can wait. We are vulnerable too because we hardly have any voice in the day-to-day running of hospital.

“However, we are responsible for their security and hygiene. We open and lock the gate and clean the toilets and the wards. When they sleep at home, we look over the security of the hospital at night, daring the danger.”

But that is what we agreed to do when we applied so there is no problem with that. Our line of work is difficult but highly important to the hospital. We deserve better than what we get. We call on the Federal Government to prevail on the hospital management to have pity on us.”

Our correspondent learnt that the hospital’s CMD explained to the striking workers that their salaries were not paid directly by the hospital but through an agency which the FG contracted the two departments to.

It was learnt that Alonge promised to pay one month salary to the workers from the hospital’s Internally Generated Revenue while effort would be made to ensure that the agency involved facilitate speedy payments of the money.

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