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Ondo doctors embark on strike over six months salary arrears

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Resident doctors at the Ondo State University of Medical Sciences Teaching Hospitals (UNIMEDTHC) have embarked on an indefinite strike over six months unpaid salaries.

The doctors, under the aegis of Association of Resident Doctors, Akure and Ondo complexes, converged on the Akure complex as early as 9:00a.m, lamenting the untold hardship meted on them by the management. 

They displayed placards with different inscriptions like ‘A Hungry Doctor Is A Danger To The Society’, ‘We Are Asking For What We Have Worked For,’ ‘Our Salary Is Our Right, Not A Gift. Pls Pay Our Arrears’, ‘We Work On Empty Stomach Not Knowing When Next Will Come,’ ‘Arakunrin Akeredolu Does Not Owe Salary, Why Is UNIMEDTHC Different?’

The doctors said the country would continue “to witness annual mass exodus of medics out of the country if this tragedy and malady of poor welfare are unchecked.” They warned that in five years time, Nigerians might not find specialists to treat them.Chairman, Media Committee, Association of Resident Doctors, UNIMEDTHC, Dr. Taiwo Olagbe, disclosed that the doctors were being owed six to three months salaries depending on when they joined the service of the hospital.

Olagbe decried the insensitivity of the management to the plight of the doctors, revealing that the association had made several representations to the management and even staged a protest to the Governor’s Office on December 23, 2019.He said that all promises made by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Health Matters, Dr. Jibayo Adeyeye and the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Ifedayo Abegunde, were unfulfilled.

The medical practitioners also accused the hospital’s management of attempting to adopt the divide and rule strategy in handling the matter, alleging that the “management selected 33 out of over 150 doctors and paid them untagged one month while the rest had nothing to give to their families for the yuletide.”

They stressed that before they could return to work “all our arrears and backlog of salaries must be cleared with immediate effect; issue of our welfare should be addressed and concerted action taken; our wages and remuneration be paid directly into our accounts.” The doctors further said: “We don’t want intermediary; that our strike has commenced at 12 midnight is total and indefinite till all our agitations are resolved; that we are against any form of victimisation during and after the strike. If any of such happens, we will not hesitate to call out our members.”

The doctors urged the state Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, and all meaningful Nigerians to prevail on the management of the hospital to pay their salaries.The state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Wahab Adegbenro, has, however, assured the doctors that their accounts would be credited from Monday next week.

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