Akwa Ibom health workers protest salary slash

Medical interns comprising pharmacists and laboratory scientists working at the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital, Akwa Ibom State, on Tuesday protested against the decision of the hospital management to place them on half salaries.

The protesters said efforts to get the management of the hospital to resume full payment of their full salaries had failed.

They protested in front of the entrance to the hospital, and displayed placards with inscriptions such as ‘Pay us all arrears, January to May,’ ‘We are tired of hearing stories,’ ‘We are no different from those receiving full salaries,’ among others.’

The spokesperson for the protesters, Gracious Ogunkola, said their internship would end in two months’ time.

“We are protesting because the hospital is not responding to our calls. We are asking them why they are not paying us our full salaries.

“We are working and our schedules are overstocked, we are overworked, but we are not getting our money. January, they paid us just 60 per cent, the same thing in February, March and April. By May and June, we were not even paid and we were asking them, ‘what is happening with our money?’

“After months of dialogue, the next thing we saw was a reduction from 60 per cent to 48 per cent. So, we are asking them questions, ‘Tell us what is happening,’ they are not answering us.

“We met with the management on two occasions and they said there was a shortfall from the Federal Government.”

Efforts to speak with the Chief Medical Director, Prof. Ememabasi Bassey, were not successful as he did not pick his calls or respond to the text message sent to him.

However, the Public Affairs Officer, of the University Teaching Hospital, Mr Offong Offong, said the partial payment of interns was a national issue.

“It is a nationwide matter. It is not a UUTH matter. We have made our representation to the government and we are awaiting the outcome of that representation.

“Whatever the decision of the FG, we will implement. We are hoping it will be done soon,” he said.

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