Activities at the University College Hospital (UCH) were disrupted on Monday as security guards and cleaners operating in the institution organised in a peaceful protest over the non-payment of their salaries for up to 13 months.
Although the protest hampered vehicular movement, it did not prevent members of staff drom entering the hospital.
While many of the protestsrs displayed placards with various inscriptions to convey their message, some were seen sharing garri among themselves to reflect the poverty they were battling with.
Some of the protesters who spoke on the condition of anonymity pleaded with the government to intervene in the matter noting that the management of the tertiary hospital had told them there was no money to pay them.
A security officer, Mr Sunday Ayorinde, who noted that the protesters were contract staffs said the protest was a follow up to the one held last year November after which the management failed to fulfil its promise of looking into the case.
He said, “We have been here since 7 am, to protest peacefully over their owing us of up to 13 months salaries now. Though we are contract staffs, we are posted here and we normally do our work here and we are not been paid.
“We usually receive our monthly salary a week after the staff receive their own but now we have not been receiving any salary since last year and that was why we protested last year November that, which was for the first time.
“The management talked to us through the Chief Medical Director, Professor Temitope Alonge who said the hospital cannot continue to pay the salaries of the security and cleaners any longer but promised to look into the matter but since then, we have been reporting at our duty and up till now nothing positive has come up. We are just appealing to the authority to see to our matter as we are dying of hunger.”
In the same vein, a cleaner, Mrs Bamidele Ajoke said, “I have three children at tertiary institutions and I worked here for years and since 11 months ago now I have not received my salary, it’s so sad.
“I and my colleague used to pack dirt in this premises, all the blood, pads, and so on are what we do. We are here to make the environment clean, we have children and we don’t want them to pass through what we are passing through and that is the reason why we are sending them to school and now that we are not receiving our salaries, life has been miserable for us.”
“Most of us have died of hunger. Seriously we used to share garri with ourselves when we are hungry, we don’t have money to pay house rent, not to talk of our medical and our children school fees, it is because we have not been receiving our salaries”, Mr Oluwasegun Sunday, another security guard lamented.
Some of the inscriptions on the placards read: “Pay us our salary, it is our right”, “No pay; No work”, “we are dying of hunger, please pay our salaries”, “our salary is our money, please pay us.”
The protesting workers, however, vowed not to resume the duty from tomorrow until the management look into their predicament and find a lasting solution.
When contacted, the spokesperson of UCH, Mr Ayodeji Bobade explained that two different companies are in charge of paying the salaries of both the cleaners and security guards, since they are not directly under the hospital’s employ.
He however assured that the hospital management will meet with the companies concerned on Tuesday, adding that the hospital has gotten the assurance of the Federal Ministry of Finance to make funds available to pay the contracting companiess who will thereafter pay the workers.