Friday, 8 January 2016

Aregbesola to sack striking doctors on Monday

The threat to sack the striking doctors in Osun State may be carried out starting from Monday, The PUNCH has learnt. Governor Rauf Aregbesola gave the hint of what might befall the doctors in Osogbo on Thursday while speaking at the 75th birthday
anniversary of the founding President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Hassan Sunmonu.

The governor said he was surprised that despite his efforts to persuade the doctors, who commenced the ongoing strike on September 28, 2015, they had stuck to their guns.

He said, “To my dismay, they stuck to their guns. But you are either in or out. We have decided to use the civil service rule.

“The Head of Service will implement that as from Monday. Head of Service, it is over to you.”

Some of those present starting grumbling loud enough to attract the attention of the governor who was forced to ask if some of the doctors were present at the occasion.

Our correspondent further gathered that the ultimatum given to the doctors had been extended and it would expire on Friday, January 8 (today).

Earlier, the Permanent Secretary of the Hospitals Management Board, Mrs. Omolara Ajayi, had while addressing journalists, appealed to the doctors to resume work in the interest of the masses.

Ajayi said it was not wrong to fight for one’s rights but the doctors should consider the masses who could not afford to seek medical treatment at private hospitals.

She said, “I want to appeal to them to resume in the interest of the masses, people who do not have an alternative. A life that is lost is lost forever.”

Ajayi also said state hospitals were not deserted, adding that other medical workers were not on strike and they were rendering services to patients.

In a separate statement, the governor insisted that the hospitals were not deserted despite the strike.

The statement, which was signed by his spokesman, Mr. Semiu Okanlawon, read in part, “The claim that government hospitals have been deserted is baseless and untrue as only doctors are on strike. Hospitals comprise not only doctors – who are on strike – but also nurses and other paramedics, who are not on strike.

“For instance, Hope Clinic (where people with retroviral diseases are being looked after) at our State Specialist Hospital, Asubiaro Osogbo, is operating. Our antenatal clinics and infant welfare clinic are open and attending to patients.

“All paramedics are on the ground and I can confirm authoritatively that administrative employees report to work every day in all of our hospitals.

“Besides, the government has been negotiating with the striking doctors who have refused to shift ground and meet the government half way on the terms of agreement. Highly placed citizens of this state including elders and leaders of the medical profession, revered traditional rulers and senior people in government have met with the striking doctors but they remain recalcitrant.

“They are insisting on the payment of salaries before calling off their strike. This is the area of disagreement.”

Meanwhile, the Democratic Socialist Movement has condemned the threat to sack the doctors.

The group said this in a statement by its state Coordinator, Mr. Alfred Adegoke; and Secretary, Mr. Kola Ibrahim.

The DSM expressed its support for the doctors while urging them not to budge despite the pressure, saying the health sector would be totally destroyed if they allowed themselves to be cowed by the governor’s threat.

The statement read in part, “The latest threat of mass sacking by the Osun State Government is part of the attempt of the government to bully all sections of the working class into submission.

“We call on the doctors and the workers in general to ignore this threat by the Aregbesola government. If this threat is allowed to see the light of the day, it will worsen the already sick health sector.”


SOURCE

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