Health workers under the aegis of Joint Health Sector Union at the Federal Medical Centre, Ebute Meta, Lagos State on Thursday threatened to begin strike on June 17 over unpaid allowances.
Shehu Sulaiman, the Chairman of the National Union of Allied and Health Professionals, FMC Ebute Meta chapter, disclosed this in an interview he granted the News Agency in Lagos.
NAN reports that JOHESU is a coalition of all allied health professionals and paramedics in Nigeria.
Sulaiman alleged that the hospital’s management was unfair to the workers of the hospital in the areas of welfare.
He said: “The management has been unfair in the treatment of workers who are not doctors and nurses in this hospital.
“We are being denied of our welfare packages in spite of several consultations we have had with the hospital management.
“We have been marginalised in this hospital for too long, but we have started the course, we will not relent until the management accedes to our demands.”
Sulaiman listed some of their grievances to include: anti-staff policies by the management arising from non-granting of the statutory three months’ leave for the retiring staff of the hospital.
According to him, others are non-payment of the call-duty allowances to the health workers, which were being enjoyed by doctors and nurses.
He said: “Non-payment of promotion arrears since 2013 till date, which has been paid to our colleagues in other Federal Government-owned hospitals, including the National Orthopaedic, Igbobi, Lagos, and lack of staff training for three years.
“Non-availability of drugs for workers having been registered under the NHIS scheme. We are being given only common drugs like paracetamol.
“Differential in payment of retirement contributive pension scheme, the amount deducted from our salaries is at variance with the amount being remitted to the retirement scheme.”
Also, the workers complained of dilapidating infrastructural facilities in the hospital, saying the intensive care unit of the hospital is at the brink of collapse with no attention given to it.
Sulaiman said: “This has led to many patients leaving the hospital for another one with better facilities.
“Our maternity section can only register paltry 10 pregnant women per week because we don’t have facilities to keep them.”
Also speaking, Achonwa Julius, the Chairman of the Medical Health Workers Union of Nigeria, FMC, Ebute Meta branch, urged Nigerians to prevail on the FMC management to grant their demands.
Achonwa, who is also an executive member of JOHESU, explained that the union was fighting for the benefits of all, including the patients coming to the hospital.
He said: “We are fighting for professional upliftment. Everybody should be given a level playing field.
“We are the ones in the middle of the storm; we don’t want redundancy in this hospital.
“The union is also demanding for an immediate release of the workers’ list due for promotion this year.”
In his reaction, Henry Etim, the hospital Head of Corporate Affairs, said the management was already addressing the issues raised by the unions.
Etim said: “Management is consulting with the union on how to solve the issues they raised and we will find amicable solutions to them.
“On the non-payment of promotion areas, this is actually out of our responsibility. It has to do with the budget office. It has the responsibility for it.
“The management has also been paying the call-duty allowance which the unions are agitating for anybody on duty.”
NAN also reports that the Association of Resident Doctors, Lagos University Teaching Hospital chapter had on Monday given the hospital management a seven-day ultimatum to pay its outstanding skipping allowances or down tools.