ABUTH doctors begin strike over unpaid salaries, allowances

Doctors at the Ahmadu Bello Teaching Hospital, Zaria, Kaduna State, on Tuesday down tooled over unpaid salaries and allowances.

The strike, they said, was indefinite until the authorities addressed their grievances.

This came as many families moved their sick relatives out of the hospital.

The striking workers alleged, in a statement entitled “Why Doctors Are on Strike in ABUTH, Zaria” that the authorities of the hospital were selectively paying them their salaries.

The President, Association of Resident Doctors, ABUTH Zaria, Dr. Tuko Tari, who spoke to journalists, wondered why the hospital management had failed to pay them.

According to him, other federal teaching hospitals in Sokoto, Jos, Kano, Katsina, Lagos, Gombe and Enugu, were not paying their workers in instalment.

He added, “In the midst of this problem, 44 resident doctors were illegally sacked by the management of our hospital and they have refused to reinstate them despite assurances.”

“Today, June 2, 2015, culminated in a highpoint of over a year period of intense deliberation, discussion and negotiation with the ABUTH management and by extension, the Federal Government on some burning issues that affect the welfare, in training and quality of service delivery in the hospital.

“Only doctors were singled out from January this year and were paid salaries in installments. We started asking questions since January what the problem was. 

Why are we getting our salaries in percentages?”

Meanwhile the ongoing strike by members of the National Association of Resident Doctors and the Nigerian Union of Allied Health Professionals has grounded health care services in some of the nation’s public hospitals.

Already the action has consumed the life of a female student of the University of Ilorin, Kwara State. 

Speaking to one of the the correspondents of The PUNCH, The Vice-Chancellor of the school, Prof. Abdulganiyu Ambali, confirmed the incident .

Ambali, however, did not disclose the student’s identity.

He told one of our correspondents that the student was on admission at the university’s teaching hospital where her condition deteriorated due to the industrial action.

“Unfortunately, when she was taken to the teaching hospital, there was no one to attend to her because they were on strike. And by the time she was later taken to another private hospital, which was not also in full operation, the lady had passed on,” Ambali added.

NUAHP members began their strike two weeks ago while resident doctors in some federal health institutions commenced theirs more than four weeks ago.

Meanwhile, a visit to the UITH showed that many of the workers deserted their offices on Tuesday.

The scenario was the same at the University College Hospital, Ibadan, Oyo State.

The Chairman of UCH branch of NUAHP, Olusegun Sotiloye, told one of our correspondents that the strike would continue until the authorities meet their demands.

He said, “The strike is still on. As we speak, a meeting between the Federal Government and NUAHP leaders is going on in Abuja. 

The outcome will decide our next line of action. In UCH, things are not in good shape. The resident doctors are not working and NUAHP members are at home too. Only consultants and nurses are doing their best to attend to existing patients. There are no new patients admitted to the hospital for treatment.”

Effort to speak with the Chairman, Association of Resident Doctors in the hospital, Lukman Ogunjimi, failed as he was said to be in a meeting when one of our correspondents visited his office.

However, resident doctors at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi-Araba, Lagos, have yet to join in the strike.

The LUTH ARD President, Dr. Moronkola Ramon, told one of our correspondents that his members were still working.

He, however, warned that the association might later join its national body if the authorities failed to address their grievances.

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