Members of the Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU), Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, LAUTECH, Teaching Hospital (LAUTECH TH) Ogbomoso branch, made up of four unions, Nigeria Union of Allied Health Professionals (NUAHP), Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria (MHWUM), Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU), and National Association of Nigeria (NANNM), have embarked on an indefinite strike to press home their demands.
The strike action which began Tuesday saw members assembling at the main gate of the institution to hold a solidarity meeting and restate their grievances.
Newsmen who arrived the venue at some minutes to 9:00am, also witnessed vehicles being turned back, the security guards asserting there was strike.
In the same vein, it is learnt that members of the Medical and Dental Association of Nigeria (MDCAN) chapter of LAUTECH TH earlier Monday had commenced industrial action over unpaid arrears, decrepit infrastructures and facilities, non-commitment to payment of salaries, inadequate equipment and medical personnel including consultants and so on,
Comrade Oluwafunmilayo Ojebode, chairperson of NUAHP and who is spokesperson of JOHESU lamented members were driven to the action because of the refusal of the management to meet with their demands, which according to her are aimed at improving conditions of service of workers and also the poor state of facilities in the hospital.
She informed it was a decision not palatable for them to take but that because both government and management had refused to look into their grievances, they reluctantly embarked on the strike action.
“We eventually resolved at going on an indefinite strike because we have tried, explored all means possible to ensure that this strike is averted and yet we could not get any resolution to our agitations.
“For example, we had had reason to visit His Excellency Engr. Seyi Makinde when he came to Ogbomoso towards the election on November 30 to be precise, and around 11:30pm to 12:00am, we got an audience with him, he actually listened and handed us over to the Chief of Staff (Chief Segun Ogunwuyi), that whatever we decided upon would be rightly communicated to him.
“But since then we have not been able to meet with Chief of Staff. Nevertheless, we had spoken with our management, the board, hoping these issues would be resolved yet they are not resolved. And that is why we resolved to embark on the indefinite strike.”
“So, what are the issues? One, we are protesting against career retardation in the sense that there are some that have been on a position for the past eight to ten years without being promoted; some got promotion letters between 2018 and 2020 and till date it has not resulted into any financial benefits, so, it is as good as they are still on the same position.
“Now, there is also the issue of arrears of salaries. We will forever be grateful to His Excellency Engr. Seyi Makinde for paying the arrears of half salaries we received between 2016 and 2017, we are eternally grateful for this but we discovered that these arrears have been paid for the past two months now but we are yet to receive it. Let me add that over the weekend the management tried to do some stuff but up till this moment not all staffs have been paid though they have been able to segment the payment.
“Then, we are also crying for the issue of understaffing. The hospital is understaffed; when it comes to health professionals we talk about pharmacists, we talk about nurses, we talk about dieticians, we talk about community health workers, we talk of laboratory workers, we talk of health records, and like that and we will talk about good personnel in the account department, so, we are saying this because it has gotten to a situation whereby you only find one person on duty attending to so many patients, attending to both in-patients and out-patients at the same time, so it is becoming burdensome, our staff are collapsing (at work), so many unpalatable situations.
“Then, we now come to equipment, there is no how you will have an institution of this magnitude attending to service, training and research because we are a teaching hospital, that you will not expect to find state-of-art equipment here, well, some we have but we are not using them. As an instance, our MRI is down, some equipment are still in their containers awaiting installations and some that are being used need overhauling or maybe some upgrading so that they will function effectively.
“So, these and other institutional factors, let me put it that way, they are numerous and we are calling on the government to come to our rescue. We are good citizens of Nigeria, we know what it takes, the oath we swore to when we were taking our jobs as professionals, we are maintaining it, and we want to ensure that we provide quality and efficient service to the masses. But this will not be possible if the personnel performing the services are not well catered for. There is need for job satisfaction so that job commitment can increase. So, that is the basis of the industrial action.”
Corroborating Comrade Ojebode, Comrade Oladoja Olabayo, chairman of MHWUM, stated, “Everything she has said is pure truth and that is what we are facing. There is no objection and there is no amendment to what she had said.”
This is just as Comrade Olobaniyi David, NASU chairman maintained, “Our comrade has said it all, and all we are demanding is for government to kindly look at what they can do to help this situation so that the cordial relationship can continue and every service we render we are ready to render our services as long as they are ready to comply with us.”
Meanwhile, speaking with newsmen on phone, the public relations officer of the hospital, Omotayo Ogunleye, affirmed that JOHESU had embarked on industrial action adding however that their demand was beyond what management could attend to.
In the meantime, JOHESU representatives and management scheduled a meeting for Tuesday though the outcome is yet to be obtained as at the time of filing this report.