Oyo: Doctors begin warning strike in UCH

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Resident doctors at the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan started  a five-day warning strike, yesterday over alleged short-payment in their salaries and allowances.

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Chairman of UCH Association of Resident Doctors (ARD), Dr. Lukman Ogunjinmi, said members embarked on the strike at 8:00am, yesterday, following a decision taken at  a congress on Tuesday afternoon.

The bone of contention is the ‘skipping,’ which has to do with increased salary for resident doctors.

“We wrote them (UCH management) a letter on October 7, 2016 where we made our demands clear.

“Meanwhile, the CMD told me to arrange congress last Saturday to appease to our members, that the money would be paid; only for management to short-pay us.

“I was here (UCH) till 10:00 pm on Tuesday and went to the CMD’s office on different occasions but was told he was busy.

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“It was obvious he wasn’t ready to attend to us and we had a congress where it was decided that we should go on the strike with effect from today (yesterday).”

Ogunjimi, however, said doctors were on duty at the Intensive Care Unit, Special Care Unit for neonatal and the Accident and Emergency Unit of the hospital, so that medical activities would not be crippled totally and added that the strike will not affect candidates sitting for the West African College of Physicians examination.

But, UCH CMD, Prof. Temitope Alonge, who said the Federal Government was yet to release allocation for increased salary being agitated for by the resident doctors said the ARD submitted the letter of ultimatum 11:00pm on Tuesday and gave nine hours notice of the strike, which elapsed by 8:00am on Wednesday.

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He, however, acknowledged that the ARD had once written a letter to him at 8:00 pm and he replied their letter two hours after and said he was surprised that a labour union could give an overnight nine-hour ultimatum before declaring a strike.

Alonge, who stated that UCH management was in talks with the resident doctors, assured that people who have patients in the hospital should not entertain any fear. He added that the hospital was still running because all other doctors were at their duty posts.

Alonge recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari instructed Speaker of the  House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara to meet with critical stakeholders on the issue of ‘skipping’ and added that the meeting had been held and  chief medical directors have been asked to submit financial implications of the salary increase.

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He explained that July salaries was effected with a little surplus in the salary payment platform.

Alonge also stated that the leadership of ARD reached an agreement with UCH management to utilise the deductions for the month of August to effect the payment of the new wages, an idea, which he said the cooperative society rejected.

The rejection of the idea by the cooperative society, according to him, compelled the hospital to pay the old rate to resident doctors for September 2016.

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