By Chidi Nkwopara
OWERRI—Staff of the Federal Medical Centre, Owerri, have commenced a three-day warning strike to protest the ongoing plan by the hospital management to privatize some of the units and departments in the establishment.
Vanguard gathered that the current warning strike stemmed from the previous protest over plans by Dr. Angela Uwakwem-led hospital administration to privatize the laboratory and pharmacy departments of the establishment.
Addressing journalists on the issue, the Chairman, Nigeria Union of Allied Health Professionals, NUAHP, Clifford Ezugwu, described their action as “a way of pressing home their grievances against the hospital administration .
’’Apart from the planned privatization of some departments of the hospital, the labour leader also named non-payment of their 2013/2014 promotion arrears, especially when the fund had since been made available to FMC management by the Federal Government.
Ezugwu also explained that workers were protesting the unnecessary queries issued to the union leaders over their stout opposition to the leasing or privatization of hospital departments by the management.
“We are strongly opposing the privatization of parts of the hospital. If this is allowed to happen, many patients will die because they cannot afford the huge charges that would be slammed on them.
‘’Already as we speak, FMC Owerri is the most expensive hospital in the country,” Ezugwu lamented.
Asked to comment on what their present action portended, the labour leader said workers would come to work normally, but would not carry out any of their official duties while the warning strike lasted.
“We are going to apply the work-to-rule policy for three days as a warning. This means that workers will come to work but will not attend to an patient or do any kind of work,” Ezugwu explained.