Patients and staff of the University College Hospital, Ibadan, experienced difficulty in gaining entry into the hospital premises on Monday morning after security men and cleaners at the facility embarked on a strike, locking the two gates leading to the hospital.
Our correspondent learnt that the workers were protesting non-payment of their 11 months salaries by the hospital.
There was gridlock at both ends of the hospital as a result of the build up of staff vehicles at the gates.
As early as 7am, both roads became impassable with hundreds of other road users, including workers heading for the state secretariat nearby, trapped. Many patients who had early appointments at the hospital lamented the situation.
One of the workers, who pleaded anonymity, accused the Chief Medical Director of the hospital, Prof Temitope Alonge, of deliberately withholding the fund meant for their salaries.
She said, “We have endured for 11 months without salaries. Can the CMD endure a month without salary? But we are considered lowly in the ranks of staff of the hospital so our money can wait. We are vulnerable too because we hardly have any voice in the day-to-day running of the hospital.
“However, we are responsible for their security and hygiene. We open and lock the gates, clean the toilets and the wards. When they sleep at home, we look over the security of the hospital at night, daring the danger. But that is what we agreed to do when we applied, so there is no problem with that.
“Our line of work is difficult but highly important to the hospital. We deserve better than what we get. We call on the Federal Government to prevail on the hospital management to have pity on us.”
Our correspondent learnt that the hospital CMD had explained to the striking workers that their salaries were not paid directly by the hospital but through an agency which the FG contracted the two departments to.
It was learnt that Alonge promised to pay one month salary to the workers from the hospital’s Internally Generated Revenue while efforts would be made to ensure speedy payment by the agency involved.