Activities at the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital (UUTH) were on Tuesday brought to a halt by an industrial action staged by medical interns comprising pharmacists and laboratory scientists.
Newsmen report that the interns, who barricaded the entrance of the teaching hospital with placards bearing various inscriptions, said the protest was in reaction to the decision of the management to pay them half salaries.
According to them, the protest was as a last resort, after several efforts to get the management of the hospital to resume the payment of their full salaries failed.
Speaking with our correspondent during the protest, Gracious Ogunkola, a pharmacy intern, said their internship would end in two months time and wondered when they would be paid their dues for the period they worked.
She explained: “We are protesting because the hospital is not responding to our calls. We are asking them why are they not paying us our full salaries?
“We are working and our schedules are overstocked, we are overworked, but we are not getting our money. January, they paid us just 60 percent, the same thing in February, March and April. By May, June we were not even paid and we were asking them, ‘What is happening with our money?’”
One of the female protesters who preferred to remain anonymous said, “Why should they compare us with Calabar? They should compare us with Enugu, Umuahia, Bayelsa, where they are paying them 100 percent there, not only Calabar. Calabar is their partner in crime.”
When contacted, the Chief Medical Director, Prof. Ememabasi Bassey, who spoke through the Public Affairs Officer, Mr. Offong Offong, said the partial payment of interns was a national issue.
Offong said: “It is a nationwide matter. It is not a UUTH matter. We have made our representation to government and we are awaiting the outcome of that representation.
“Whatever the decision of the Federal Government, we will implement, but we don’t know how long it will take. We are hoping it will be soon.”