Nurses and other categories of health workers at the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, have issued a 14-day ultimatum to the Federal Government to accede to their demands or risk losing their services.
At a joint press conference called by the executive of the various health workers’ associations in Ibadan on Thursday, the workers said the ultimatum was in addition to the planned strike by the Joint Health Sector Union at the national level, which would commence on September 20, 2017.
The unions represented at the press conference were the National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives, the Nigerian Union of Allied Health Professionals, the Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities and Tertiary Institutions, Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria and the Senior Staff Association of Universities, Teaching Hospitals, Research Institutes and Associated Institutions.
The Chairman of NUAHP, Victor Sotiloye, told newsmen that the unions had reached a conclusion that if the FG refused to meet their demands at the expiration of the ultimatum, members would be mobilised to withdraw their services from the government hospital.
He said the decision was the workers’ last option after exhausting all other avenues to approach the hospital management and the FG without success, while also appealing to members of the public to show understanding.
The unions are clamouring for the payment of promotion arrears for 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017.
The nurses and other health workers belonging to the unions in the hospital are also calling on the FG to address unpaid salaries of some members due to shortfall in subvention.
The health workers also expressed sadness over withheld union dues and cooperative society deductions.
The unions’ executive said that the FG had been treating their members, who constituted 95 per cent of the hospital work force, poorly, saying that over the years, the FG had consistently frustrated their members from gaining access to the benefits accruable to them.
Sotiloye said, “It is general knowledge that the health sector has become another Animal Farm where all animals are equal, but some are more equal than the others. This is evident in the way the Federal Government, through the Federal Ministry of Health, is treating our members who constitute 95 per cent of the labour force in the sector.
“Our members have been cheated, short-changed and demoralised over the years. Having a good understanding of the nature of our job, and that of the system where we render service, we have always exercised restraints when it comes to the declaration of industrial action.
“We are, therefore, giving the FG a 14-day ultimatum with effect from September 14, 2017 to meet the above-listed demands, failing which all the unions shall not hesitate to mobilise all our members to withdraw their services.”