By Dayo Johnson
A State Executive Committee, SEC, meeting of the Ondo State chapter of Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives, NANNM, ended abruptly, yesterday, as nurses chased away their union leaders over payment of 50 per cent salary by the state government to its workforce.
Efforts by the aggrieved nurses to make their leaders declare a strike action over the issue, however, failed.
The union leaders had called the meeting to discuss issues of the attack on three nurses at the Federal Medical Centre, Owo and the 50 per cent half salary paid to state workers.
The placards displayed by the aggrieved nurses had inscriptions such as “Represent us well or leave”, “We move out of JOHESU”, “Serve us well to serve the community well. A hungry man is an angry man”, “Nurses have the largest number in the health sector. We can stand alone.”
The aggrieved nurses, who expressed their readiness to pull out of the Joint Health Workers Union, chased out their union leaders.
They claimed that their leaders have compromised and demanded strike action over payment of 50 per cent salary for November 2020 and other emoluments owed them.
The nurses said they cannot continue to work on an empty stomach until all their allowances are paid.
Attempts by the union leaders to calm protesting nurses down failed.
The state Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Oluwole Adeleye, rushed to the venue to appeal to the protesting nurses.
Some of the nurses in the employ of the state government said they got N18,000 as salary.
One of the protesting nurses, who spoke with newsmen, alleged that the state NANNM leadership has failed them.
“This process is for us to get what is due to us. We are tired of collecting half salary. How can you pay essential workers half salary? We are being neglected.
“When others went on strike, we remained at our duty posts. We have waited for our leadership but they have failed us.
“The state NANNM must issues ultimatum for a strike. We are also tired of JOHESU. We can stand alone.
“We came to realise that our leaders agreed to collect half salary. We were not carried along. We have families to feed. Some of us got N18,000 or N20,000. Some also got minus. They are owing us several other allowances. During the COVID-19 we were still working.
“It was sad that half salary was paid in January when schools just resumed new academic session.We are protesting because our leaders are not representing us well.