Workers of Abia State University Teaching Hospital (ABSUTH) have threatened to embark on an indefinite strike by Monday, Dec. 5, Abia Facts Newspaper report.

Abia State University Teaching Hospital (ABSUTH)
Abia State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu

The aggrieved workers said their decision followed the expiration of the final three-day notice they gave the State Government.

Mr Samuel Kalu, Secretary, Senior Staff Association of Universities, Teaching Hospitals, Research Institutes and Allied Institutions (SSAUTHRIAI), ABSUTH Chapter, made this known on Thursday in Aba.

Kalu said that the planned strike was occasioned by the state government’s insensitivity to the sufferings of workers in the institution who have been working although they were owed seven months salaries.

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According to him, the association in its agitation to press home members’ demands sent several letters of complaint which were not responded to, which warranted series of warning strike letters which the government also ignored.

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“We do not want to go on strike but the state government is forcing us to do so.

“We are being owed seven months’ salary arrears and we have made demands for at least three months arrears to be paid us but we have neither heard from them nor received anything,’’ he said.

Kalu said that the workers were also agitating for payment of 12 months pension to the pensioners of the institution who were being owed 27 months’ salary to save many of them from dying.

He said that the last regime approved the CONHESS salary scale for all staff of the teaching hospital, but regretted that the government was implementing the salary scale only for the clinical staff leaving out non-clinical staff.

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“The ABSUTH Co-operative Society deductions which we authorised to be done at source and which has amounted to over N27 million over two years now has been kept by the management for their own use which is the money workers fall back to in times of being owed salaries to support their families.

“We also demand the full implementation of CONMESS salary scale among medical and dental doctors in ABSUTH to ensure harmony in the university,’’ he said.

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The letter, dated Nov. 28, and made available on Wednesday read in part: “Sequel to the insensitivity of the government to the above demands, the entire workforce (ABSUTH) is forced to issue the final three days with effect from 28th November 2016.

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“At the expiration of this ultimatum, there shall be no further communication rather the entire workforce will proceed on indefinite strike and Abia State Government shall be held responsible for any loss arising from the strike.’’

The letter signed by the Joint Unions Chairman, Emea Ukariwe, and Secretary, Samuel Inyama, Kalu said has been dispatched to the Abia government for action.

He said that if government did nothing after receiving the last warning, the workers will not come to work next Monday.

The state government was yet to react to the development, just as the spokesman of the Ministry of Health, Mr Francis Nwogu, declined comments, and effort to reach the state commissioner for Finance, Obinna Oriaku proved abortive at the time of writing this report.

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