The workers of Abia State Government-owned Hospitals Management Board (HMB), a parastatal under the state’s Ministry of Health, Umuahia, Monday, protested the backlog of salaries numbering about 11 months owed them.
Some of the protesting workers alleged that the government stopped paying them since the month of May, 2016 for undisclosed reason.
The protesters barricaded the busy Aba road, close to the government house, carrying various placards with different inscriptions. The protest caused very slow movement of traffic in the capital city.
The medical and health workers chairman of Hospital Management Board, Comrade Ejike Patrick, told newsmen that, “We have not been paid for barely eleven months, by the end of this September it will be one year, we receive our last salary in September 2018”.
When asked if they have made any move before now to draw the attention of the government before embarking on a protest, Ejike explained, “Of course, before now we have been communicating with them, we have written series of letters to the management and to the head of service. Last time the house of assembly committee called us for a meeting and we were there with them. They agreed that they will look into it but this period they are on break to resume on the 5th of this months.
“All this while, we have not received anything from the government and government is aware of our condition. We cannot even pay our children’s school fees and house rent. Last time when we had this kind of protest, the governor promised us that he will be paying us one month each time the allocation comes in. The last protest we made was in July this year.”
Paul Nwosu, a staff in the Hospital Board, also bared the mind of the staff, revealing that they are ninety nine in number and for three and half years now they have not been paid salary, as their salary was stopped.
He said, “We have children, they stopped our salary up till this time. We did nothing wrong. They stopped our salary since May 2016 up till now they haven’t paid us salary. We are ninety nine in number. We have complained, we have gone to house of assembly even to the head of service, all in vain.
“They did not accuse of anything, they just stopped our salary. Some of us who were also affected were transferred to another ministry and they are been paid salary over there. They abandoned us. Even to feed now is a problem, as a man I have many responsibilities to carter for.”