By Chidi Nkwopara
OWERRI—The growing crisis of confidence between labour and management of Federal Medical Centre, FMC, Owerri, took a downward slide as workers downed tools, yesterday, to protest alleged anti-labour practices in the establishment.
The aggrieved FMC staff, who acted on the platform of National Allied Health Workers Union, also demanded unconditional and immediate withdrawal of the query issued to the union leadership by the hospital management.
After recounting a litany of their grievances during the protest, the union’s Secretary General, Nwafor Solomon Kelechi, explained that workers were particularly irked over the non-payment of arrears and other benefits accruable to them.
“The union had earlier written the hospital management for the payment of 2013/2014 benefits, which had long been released by the Federal Government but sadly being withheld by the management.
“FMC Owerri is the only federal health centre that is going through such a bitter experience,” stressing that workers deserve to be paid as it is their statutory right.
“We have taken all the necessary steps, including issuance of seven days ultimatum to the hospital management to ensure compliance, which expired on the day of the protest,” the labour leader explained.
Another aggrieved worker, who simply identified himself as Stanley, insisted that management should urgently withdraw the query issued to the leadership of the union.
“The hospital management had gone to Hot 99.5 FM radio station, Owerri, to make spurious allegations against the union, which necessitated the union mandating the leadership to go to the same radio station to clear the air.
‘’It was for this reason that the labour leaders were issued the query,” Stanley fumed.
Stanley said that workers would resist any attempt to intimidate their leaders.