Medical staff and health workers in Abia State University Teaching Hospital (ABSUTH) have continued to lament the non-payment of salaries by the Okezie Ikpeazu-led government.
The health workers, who had last received salary in May 2018, bemoaned the lack of willingness on the part of Ikpeazu to pay outstanding salaries.
The medical staff, speaking with SaharaReporters stated that the government had continued to promise it would pay the salaries.
The doctors had in November 2019 embarked on a strike to force the governor to make pay salaries but the government turned deaf ear to the plea and suffering of the medical staff of the university teaching hospital.
Dr. Eke Iwe, President of Association of Resident Doctors (ARD) said doctors in the hospital embarked on a strike in 2018 to protest the non-payment of salaries but the government refused to pay.
“The non-payment of salary made us to embark on strike action. We went on strike in November 2018 because of the salary. But there was no effort by the government to pay the salary. We spent seven months on strike and went on another warning strike in February 2019 but the government stayed put refusing to pay our salaries,” Dr. Iwe explained.
He added that the health workers, after a series of plea by the government, accepted to resume.
He, however, noted that after the strike was suspended in July, the government only paid salary arrears of June and July adding that the government refused to pay the salary for August.
He said, “We resumed based on the promises of the governor in July and we received two salaries, for June and July.
“Since then, nothing has been paid again, we did not receive for August and now we are in September, making the arrears crawl back to 14 months.”
Dr. Nnamdi Christian, Public Relations Officer of ABSUTH ARD, said the government deliberately refused to pay the health workers despite receiving monthly allocations and a bailout from the federal government, meant to pay workers and pensioners.
“The government keeps saying they don’t have money and that is even after collecting state allocation and bailout.
“We are working but we are not getting salary. We came back on our own good will because we want to save the situation and make the institution survive,” Dr. Christian lamented.
The doctors, however, refused to rule out another strike if the non-payment of salary continues.
He decried the government's radio and television programme announcing that the state pays salary promptly while health workers are owed 14 months' salaries.
The ARD president said, “We suspended the last strike but if nothing is done, we will call another meeting to decide what the next step will be.
“We are hoping that the government will do something to prevent such a decision.
“It has always been work, frustration and strike. What the governor is to do is just to pay salary consistently and this will positively affect every other part of the hospital.”