Ogun doctors begin strike as meeting with government hits brick wall

Sodiq Ojuroungbe

Resident Doctors at the Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital, Sagamu have announced that they would begin weekend strike from Friday over the refusal of the Ogun state government to yield to their agitations on better welfare package.

PLATFORM TIMES learnt that the decision to embark on weekends strike is coming after a negotiation meetings between the government and the union reportedly failed.

It would be recalled that the association had some weeks ago embarked on a three-days warning strike and this reportedly led to the setting up of negotiating team between the two parties.

PLATFORM TIMES however gathered that the government and the doctors were unable to reach agreements on some of the agitations of the union.

The doctors in a letter to the state governor, Dapo Abiodun which was obtained by our reporter lamented that the government is not committed to treating them fairly despite having agreements about certain issues.

The letter which was jointly signed by the the President and General Secretary of the Association of Resident Doctors, OOUTH, Dr. Popoola Mutiu and Dr. Osundara Tope complained that the government is simply rubbing the issues raised by the association without showing any seriousness in fulfilling it.

The doctors explained that they have resolved to working only during working days, while they will sit at home on weekends.

They maintained that the decision will be reviewed in two weeks depending on the response of the government.

The doctors however said their members working at the COVID-19 isolation centre will be excused from the strike action.

The letter reads partly, “since the government has chosen to simply rub the issues, without any form of real commitment to begin to treat us fairly, we have resolved to discharge our duties only during working days of the week because of our concern for the people in these trying times, we have decided to sit at home on weekends.

“We hope the Ogun State government will wake up to its responsibility and our congress shall review in two weeks, if any worthwhile transformation occurs.

“We have decided to leave our members working directly in the COVID-19 treatment centre to go on with their duties uninterrupted, within this additional two-week wait, after which we would reappraise and determine what next.

“We are sincerely willing to attend to the health needs of Ogun State and its environs, and we have waited and waited and waited, but there is a limit to which it would be right to keep on enduring this insensitivity to the continued unfair treatment of the resident doctors.”

Speaking on how the meeting between the government and the association went, the doctors lamented that the government seems invisible to them.

The letter added, “when we suspended our industrial action after the warning strike, we had hoped that the government was ready to look into it, the data about the issues were provided, but alas, like the proverbial cutlass, it still landed on the flat side! The sincerity on the government’s side is invisible to us.

“We want to believe the government will relate with us over this concerns and agitations in fairness and equity.

“This should be the principle of justice expected of Ogun State Government for our common good and the valuation is of supreme ethic which should reflect in our dealings with the government.

“The government should at least bring us to be at par with the way our colleagues in other places in Nigeria are paid for their worthy healthcare delivery.

“That should be the minimum, considering that the issues have been over three years standing. If they were unwilling before, is this not the time to now be humane and fair in the treatment of their frontline workers in this battle against COVID-19? Instead, what we have heard is that they have increased our hazard allowance by 300%.

“This would sound like something big, but to be exact, it is only an increment of N15,000 in our salary, which is still a far cry from the normal salary of our colleagues in other institutions in Nigeria.

“Now is that too much to ask, just pay us what is our normal due, to end this unfair disparity that pre-dated COVID-19.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *