Patients at the National Hospital, Abuja, groaned for the third day yesterday as workers in the facility refused to work for four hours, in protest of alleged refusal of government to pay them a teaching allowance. When our correspondent visited the hospital at about 10 a.m., many patients and their families were left unattended to by the hospital. Even though doctors were on duty at various offices and sections of the hospitals visited, staff who were in charge of patients files among other support workers in the hospital did not work. Services were, however, provided at some sections of the hospital namely Intensive Care Unit and Emergency Ward. Cancer patients and HIV patients among others were attended to. Leaders of health workers at the hospital, Jelili Adewale, told National Mirror in an interview that non-payment of teaching allowance for workers on CONHESS seven and eight at the hospital led to the strike. The angry workers were clad in dark clothes and chanted different songs which disrupted the usual peace at the hospital. Their dressing was in honour of the late Minister of State for Labour and Productivity, James Ocholi, their leader said. Adewale said: “We are staging this protest, and this is the third day.
We are doing this to press home our demands of restoration of teaching allowance for CONHESS seven and eight. This group of staff has been denied this allowance since June 2013. That means they have not been enjoying this allowance. It is an incentive for the extra duty we perform with our younger workers including medical and dental students in training, and doctors. “If the students who are staff do not receive this training, they will not get certified.
In June 2013, this allowance was removed or was stopped. And, we have been dialoguing with our management to restore the teaching allowance. “In fact, in May 2015, when we were pressing home other demands, this allowance restoration was part of the demands. Other demands were addressed. But, this particular issue has not been addressed. So, from 2015 to now, we have been exchanging correspondences. We’ve been having some meetings and dialogue with government, but, it has not yielded any positive result. “And, the reason our management has been giving is that the IPPIS, that is the office that is for payment of salaries, stopped the payment of this allowance. We ask ‘what has the management been doing to ensure that we have the allowance restored?’ They claim they have been writing to restore the allowance. But it has been a one-way correspondence. They are not able to give us any positive response. They claim that office has not given them the reason.
Two years ago, we protested the implementation of the skipping of CONHESS 10 and teaching allowance. The skipping of CONHESS 10 has been addressed up to a level that the unions have been a bit satisfied. But this second demand has not been addressed,” he added. He noted that the workers only suspended work for four hours – between 8 a.m. and 12 p.m. -to press home their demand within the three days.
Source: Natonal Mirror