From Tina Ayigbe (Correspondent)
In Ile-Ife, Osun state, Nigeria. the streets are filled with the sounds of protest. The workers of the Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital (OAUTH) have taken to the streets, chanting and waving banners, demanding better working conditions and salaries, following the decision of the management to lay them off on Wednesday, 31st January, 2024.
"we're tired of working without pay, one protester says, we can't feed over families, we can't provide for our children."
The workers blocked all the entrance gates of the hospital around 7am on Thursday and avoided entry and coming out.
The protesters who carried placards, such as " "pay our salary, say to injustice, our 14-months salary or nothing else, Okeniyi must go", among others. They expressed their dissatisfaction.
The Management had, in a memo dated January 31, 2024 and by, O. Ominije, the Acting Director of Administration, retained 68 and laid off about 2,000 staff recruited through doubtful jobs engagement that took place from early 2022 to 2023 in the hospital.
The memo reads ” the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation approved recruitment of only 450 worker before the racketeering took place.
It listed 68 personnel as those that would participate in the fresh recruitment in compliance with the approval given by the Office of the Head of Service, saying all those recruited outside the approval must stop parading themselves as staff of the hospital.
The affected workers were perplexed with the decision of the management to lay them off.
A protester said ” The memo they sent informing the public of our sack should be withdrawn because we were not employed through memo, we are duly issued with employment letters and conditions were stated there in”.
One of the affected members of staff, Samson Falope, who spoke with journalists, said most of them were employed from 2022 and their names were on the hospital’s duty roster. He noted that they were fully engaged and have been working since then.
We have not seen any circular emanating from the Federal Ministry of Health that indicated our sacking. Our salary is overdue and we have worked for about 14 to 15 months without payment. Our people are suffering, the management should pay us our salary. We will not leave here until we are paid,” he said.
The Public Relations Officer of the institution, Kemi Fasoto, said that the management was waiting for a directive from the Minister of Health and Social Welfare on steps to take.