Patients, doctors, nurses and other staff of the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, Monday morning were stranded for several hours when security men and cleaners working in the hospital locked the gates to the premises of the hospital to protest non-payment of their 11-month salaries.
The protesting workers blocked all entrances of the hospital during the action that lasted for over two hours Monday morning.
This made patients, their relatives and other staff of the hospital to experience difficulty in gaining entry into the hospital premises.
The development also led to heavy traffic at both ends of the hospital as a result of the build up of vehicles at the gates.
Our correspondent learnt that both roads became impassable with hundreds of other road users, including workers heading for the state secretariat nearby, trapped as at 7.am. Many patients who had early appointments at the hospital lamented the situation.
Some of the protesting workers accused the Chief Medical Director of the hospital, Prof Temitope Alonge, of deliberately withholding the funds meant for their salaries.
They 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”.
But DAILY POST learnt that the CMD had earlier 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.
But the Public Relations Officer of the hospital, Deji Bobade when asked to give a true picture of the incident said he was on casual leave and could not give details of what transpired .
Bobade who said he was in the meeting in a short conversation with DAILY POST noted that he will not comment on the strike since he was on casual leave.
He said, “I am on casual leave,” he said.