Ogun Doctors begin strike amid COVID-19 pandemic

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Femi Adeleke
Abeokuta
Amid the spread of Coronavirus pandemic ravaging Ogun State, the Association of Resident Doctors (ARD) at the Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital (OOUTH), Sagamu, Ogun State, on Sunday, announced  commencement of a  three-day warning strike effective from Monday.
The aggrieved doctors said strike followed the alleged refusal of the State government to yield to its agitations on the need to better welfare package for its members.
The doctors in a letter addressed to the State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, accused the government of insensitivity to their plights.
The letter, a copy of which was obtained by Uhuru Times, was jointly signed by the ARD OOUTH President and the General Secretary of the Association, Dr. Popoola Mutiu  and Dr. Osundara Tope, respectively.
The doctors said they decided to go on strike because of “the noncommittal response to several letters written to the government.”
They bemoaned that the attitude of the government to the previous warning letters they had written to it, which included 21-day and seven-day ultimatums had shown that the government was not concerned about their plights.
The doctors described the increase in hazard allowance from N5,000 to N15,000 as “a charade by the government.”
They however, exempted their members working at the COVID-19 Isolation centre in the hospital partaking in the strike action.
The letter reads part, “The whole house is very much unpleased with the government on issues that bothers on our agitations and welfare.
“We are perturbed with the Noncommittal response from the government despite repeated calls and letters to get their attention.
“There has been no commitment whatsoever from the government on the issue of Appropriate Remuneration, Entry Level, New Minimum Wage, Hazard allowance and Life Insurance for our members.
“No response to the letter written by the National Body of the Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) notifying Ogun State Government on the aberration concerning the Appropriate Remuneration to her members at OOUTH.
“Despite the Inadequate response of Ogun State Government to the Health risks confronted by our members during this COVID-19 pandemic, our members went ahead to continue their work diligently in their various departments and at the Isolation Center.
“We were taking aback by the arbitrary change in only hazard allowance to be given as COVID – 19 Special Hazard Allowance to all health workers. The 200% increase in Hazard allowance is just an increase from N5000 to N15,000 for just the month of April.
“We are in quandary about how the government will put up a charade without giving attention to what our concerns and the real issues are.
“It is also unsettling to know that our members are without a Life Insurance or a Tax Rebate as seen with the Memorandum of Understanding between the Federal Government and Health Professional Associations and Unions.
Resolutions.”
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