By Ijendu Iheaka
Aba (Abia) – The Abia State University Teaching Hospital (ABSUTH) has announced a suspension of the seven-month-old strike by the joint workers union with immediate effect.
The Assistant Director, Public Relations Department of the hospital, Mr Joe Onwuka, announced the suspension in a statement he issued to newsmen in Aba on Tuesday.
Onwuka said that the decision to suspend the action followed an agreement reached by the union with the hospital management and state government.
“A communique, endorsed by all the leaders of the various industrial unions in the hospital, has consequently urged the workers to immediately resume duties from Wednesday, July 3,” he further stated.
He said the union agreed to suspend the strike as a mark of respect for Governor Okezie Ikpeazu’s personal intervention in the dispute and promise to meet the workers’ demand.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that members of staff of the hospital embarked on the the industrial action in Nov. 2018.
The strike was to protest against what they called “internecine conflicts” over payment of the staff salaries and non-payment of ABSUTH retirees since Nov. 2014.
The workers also demanded the rehabilitation of the the Udeagbala-Umueze Road, leading to the hospital, among others.
Onwuka urged the workers to “immediately return to their duty posts with the usual zest and candour they were known for.”
He said that the union, however, implored the state government to abide by its own part of the tripartite agreement in the interest of peace and industrial harmony in the hospital.
Meanwhile, a source at the union told NAN on the condition of anonymity that the strike became necessary, following 10 months salary arrears owed to workers.
It alleged that the government reneged on its earlier promise to be paying workers two months at once until the backlog was cleared.
According to the source, state government only paid three months salary.
It blamed the delay in the hospital’s resumption after several meetings with the government on alleged government’s failure to fulfil its promise. (NAN)