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ABSUTH workers begin strike

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Workers of Abia State University Teaching Hospital on Monday began an indefinite strike following the nonpayment of six months salaries by the state government.

A correspondent who monitored the action at the Aba campus of the hospital on Monday reported that workers including medical and paramedical staff as well as administrative workers barricaded the hospital entrance.

The striking workers also locked out the Chief Medical Officer of the hospital, Dr Chucks Kamalu.

The Secretary, Senior Staff Association of Universities, Teaching Hospitals, Research Institutes and Allied Institutions, ABSUTH Chapter, Mr Samuel Kalu, said the strike would be total until they received payment alert.

Addressing the workers at the ABSUTH, Aba campus, Kalu expressed dismay over the nonpayment of salaries.

He said, “They tell us, they will pay today, they will pay tomorrow but it is all a lie. So what we are doing is what is right in law to get our salaries. We will occupy here until we get salary payment alert.

“Nobody will pass through this gate without wearing black attire. Our children are asking us when are we traveling home for Christmas yet we cannot buy food items for our homes.

“Our homes are breaking because of this suffering. We cannot endure anymore. We want you workers to be peaceful until we get what we want.”

Mr Uchechukwu Uche of the Works Department in the hospital said that they had not received salaries since June 2016.

Uche wondered how they would spend the yuletide without money adding that some of the workers were being ejected due to nonpayment of house rent.

He said, “Last week, some commissioners came here and told us that they were going to pay us two months salaries but the week ended and we did not see anything.

“Our families are in disarray because of financial challenges.”

The Chairman of ABSUTH Pensioners, Mr. Victor Nwogwugwu, said that they had not received pension since the new administration of Gov Okezie Ikpeazu came on board.

According to him, we have not been paid pension for three years now since the last tenure of Theodore Orji.

The protesters displayed placards with inscriptions, “No ABSUTH Pensioner has received one full month pension since November 2009,’Pay us our pension, Our families are suffering’.

Nwogwugwu also said they were not leaving the gate of the hospital, despite the scorching morning sun, until they received payment alert like their counterparts still in service.

 

(NAN)

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