Abia Health Workers to embark on indefinite strike action over non- payment of April, May salaries amidst COVID-19 ***Bemoan breach of trust, confidence by Ministry of Local Govt’ and Chieftaincy Affairs

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The State Executive Council, (SEC) of Medical and Health Workers’ Union, Abia State chapter has resorted to withdrawing her members’ services at the various health facilities in the 17 LGA’s of Abia state following the refusal of the government to pay both April and May salaries of her health workers despite commitments to wagging war against COVID-19.

This is even as they expressed dissatisfaction towards the treatment meted out to the health workers in spite of their relentless efforts towards combating the extant COVID-19, by Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, headed by Sir Gabriel Onyendilefu, the Honourable Commissioner.

In a leaked letter directed to the Governor, Dr. Okezie Victor Ikpeazu dated July 21, 2020,  the SEC amidst regrets, frowned at “the breach of trust and confidence from the Ministry of Local government and chieftaincy affairs that had earlier in their meeting with the Union on 13-7-2020, promised to address the issue of the non- payment of Health Workers salary with an overdraft within 7days”.

The letter read in detail:

Notice of commencement of an indefinite strike action over the arbitrary non- payment of April, May 2020 salaries in the LGA’s

“Arising from the State Executive Council meeting of the union that was held on the 21-07-2020 at the State Secretariat of the Union with the representatives of the branches in the 17 LGA’s in attendance.

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“The SEC has seriously frowned at the breach of trust and confidence from the Ministry of Local government and chieftaincy affairs that had earlier in their meeting with the Union on 13-7-2020, promised to address the issue of the non- payment of Health Workers salary with an overdraft within 7days.

“Howbeit, after an extensive and exhaustive deliberation coupled with the information reaching the house, the Ministry planned to subsequently stagger the Health Workers salaries in the LGAs.

“Consequently, the house resolved that if by mid night of 22-06-2020 that the two months’ salaries of April and May 2020 owed are not paid, therefore, the Union would be left with no other option than to withdraw her members’ services in all the Health facilities in the 17 LGA’s of the state, to press home our demands”, the letter read.img 20200722 135633 83347736167710930529 scaled

Meanwhile, FamousReporters during investigations gathered that local government health workers in the state had suffered series of deprivations overtime, ranging from; non-payment of Consolidated Health Salary Structure which is being paid to others, absence of running cost, no payment of impress to LG health authorities in the state unlike other sister- organisations, non- provision of COVID-19 incentives, exclusion from the payment of April and May salaries to LG council workers, education workers, etc by the Ministry of LG and chieftaincy affairs.

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Furthermore, a reliable source who spoke to FamousReporters confirmed that abia state government has never been fair in her dealings with health workers in the state, irrespective of their unflinching commitment to the fight against the pandemic, as they evidently were seen at the various nooks and crannies of the state, sensitising the people even at the peak of the pandemic.

The source said:
“There is what we call the Joint Allocation Committee, fund, (JAC). It is from that fund that they pay Local government health workers, they pay primary education workers and primary health workers.

But, unfortunately, when money came for them to pay April salary they paid local government workers, people that have been at home sleeping, they paid primary school workers, but then the health workers that have been at the war front, fighting COVID, coming to work everyday, they refused to pay them.

The source revealed that Abia health workers have not received their April and May salaries let alone June, hence the call for the indefinite strike if nothing is done urgently.

“We have not been paid since April but they have paid these other people. So, the Union is threatening to take the workers out and if they embark on strike and the 722 health facilities are closed, you can imagine what would happen to this state.

By Famous Reporters

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