ABSUTH workers suspend strike to attend verification
Workers of the Abia State University Teaching Hospital on Monday suspended their three-week-old strike, which they had embarked upon since December 19, 2016, to demand for their seven months unpaid salaries.
Samuel Kalu, the Secretary, Senior Staff Association of Universities, Teaching Hospitals, Research Institutes and Allied Institutions, ABSUTH Chapter, told the News Agency of Nigeria in Aba of the suspension of the strike.
Kalu said that the decision followed the demand by the state government that ABSUTH staff should return to work for verification that would enable it settle the workers’ seven months’ salaries.
He said that the decision was arrived at after the meeting of SSAUTHRIAI members, ABSUTH Chapter, at the weekend was conveyed to look into the workers’ challenges and the state government’s solutions.
He said that the workers had 14-working days to attend the exercise, stressing that within the same period, no services would be rendered in the teaching hospital.
Kalu said that they expected the state government to start effecting payment of the workers’ salaries which would be confirmed through bank alerts before they could resume work fully.
He said: “We have taken the decision based on the ongoing verification which the state government is carrying out throughout the state, for government to know that there are no ghost workers in ABSUTH.
“We also do not want the government to come up with any excuses as reasons why it does not to pay our salaries after the verification.’’
He said that the hospital’s staff had their last screening in May, 2016 and since then it had not employed any staff despite being grossly short-staffed.
Kalu called on the state government to do everything it could to ensure that ghost workers were flushed out of the hospital to avoid waste of man-hours arising from frequent staff audit.
He also advised the government to seek the services of the labour unions in government agencies where staff audit was to hold to discourage suspected ghost workers from showing up at such venues.
Kalu also urged the government to make public the final report of the exercise so as to help to checkmate incidence of ghost workers once and for all.
ABSUTH workers had embarked on strike since December 19, 2016, to demand the payment of their seven months’ salary arrears and the three-year-pension arrears owed them and their pensioners.