…As Arik Air apologises to passengers over flights disruption, following Shut down***
The nation’s health sector may get more sick before responding to treatment as Healthcare workers at the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, on Monday, joined the nationwide strike called by the Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU).
Already, most essential places in the hospital, including the pharmacy, the medical records section and two of the main gates into the hospital were locked.
The JOHESU Chairman, UCH Chapter, Mr Adeolu Alli, said the strike became imperative after “a long period” — three years of waiting on the Federal Government.
He said that the government has seemingly taken the patience of the striking workers for granted.
“We are on strike at the moment and our members have gone home.
“The level of compliance is almost 98 per cent. The government must meet our demands.
“On September 30, 2017, there was an agreement with the Federal Government on some of these issues most especially the adjustment of our salary structure.
“Three months later, that was April and May 2018, we had to go on strike again because the government failed to fulfill its part of the agreement,” he said.
According to him, JOHESU makes up over 94 per cent of workers in government-owned hospitals.
“JOHESU is made up of over 94 per cent of workers in the hospitals, except doctors.
“Obviously there is nothing that can be done without this workforce but unfortunately, the Federal Ministry of Health has been biased all along.
“We have tried our best. We have been patient enough but it is unfortunate that they are taking our patience for granted,” he said.
Also read: JOHESU begins nationwide strike today
Mr Toye Akinrinlola, the UCH’s Public Relations Officer, said that the hospital’s management had made an arrangement with available manpower to render skeletal services and attend to critical cases.
He said that the accident and the emergency units, the ICU, staff clinic, antenatal emergency and labour ward, would remain open.
The JOHESU is the umbrella body of five affiliate unions including the National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives (NANNM), Nigeria Union of Allied Health Professionals (NUAHP) and Medical and Health Workers’ Union (MHWUN).
Others are Senior Staff Association of Universities, Teaching Hospitals, Research Institutes and Associated Institutions (SSAUTHRIAI) and Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria (AMLSN).
In the meantime, the management of Arik Air on Monday apologised to its customers whose travel plans were disrupted by the picketing of operations by some Aviation unions on Sept. 14.
Mr Adebanji Ola, Manager, Communications of Arik Air, made the apology in a statement in Lagos.
The operations of Arik Air on Sept. 14 was shut down by the Aviation unions over alleged non-payment of staff salaries since April, after placing 90 per cent of the workforce on compulsory leave and other anti-labour practices.
Ola said: “We wish to place on record that the picketing was illegal and has no backing of the aviation unions whose leadership have embraced dialogue by attending mediatory meetings called by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).
“The management strongly condemns this action and once again assures all stakeholders of a safe and conducive working environment.
“We shall also protect the interest of the flying public for a safe, friendly and on time-traveling experience.
“We are already working with the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Ministry of Aviation and NCAA to resolve all pending issues with the unions and a section of the staff, ” he said.
The spokesperson, however, assured customers with valid tickets who could not fly on Monday to modify such tickets at no cost for future travels.
“We are working to bring the situation under control and the public will be advised accordingly.