UCH Workers Close at 4 pm as Blackout Persists

Following persistent electricity blackouts at the University College Hospital, UCH, in Ibadan, Oyo state, the joint action committee, JAC, has directed all employees of the health institution to commence work from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily from Tuesday.

JAC is the umbrella body of unions at the UCH.

Africa Health Report recalls that in February, the power supply to the tertiary health institution was disconnected by the Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company, IBEDC, over what it described as “technical faults and indebtedness.

According to IBEDC, UCH owes the company N495 million over six years.

The chairman of JAC, Oludayo Olabampe, stated in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria that the organization hadn’t had electricity since March 19.

“Workers would now work from 8 am to 4 pm only because it is dangerous and risky to attend to patients in that situation. We held a meeting with the management this morning but the issue is that there is no electricity. So, from today, Tuesday, April 2, we will work until 4 p.m. We are not attending to any patient after 4 p.m.

Olabampe who said it was not safe to continue to attend to patients under the circumstances, warned that the workers would embark on strike if power was not restored.

“This means that we won’t admit patients because the nurses that will take care of them will not be available after 4 p.m. and you don’t expect patients to be on their own from 4 p.m. till 8 a.m. the following day.

“If patients need blood tests, the lab will not work, if they need radiography, the radiographers will not work, and the dieticians in charge of their food too will not work after 4 p.m. We also gave management another 14-day ultimatum which started counting from March 27, and if after 14 days power is not restored, we will embark on warning strike,” he said.

But in a reaction, the chief medical director, CMD, of the UCH, Jesse Otegbayo, alleged that IBEDC was billing the hospital as an industry. He stated that the union did not formally notify management before making such a decision.

“I have not heard about that, if they are going to do that, they should write to management officially, and then the management will respond. There are rules that govern government service, you can’t just decide what hours you work and expect to be paid full-time.

“If they go ahead to do that without informing management officially, management has a way of applying the rules to pay them for the number of hours which they worked. The proper thing is for them to put it in writing because they didn’t write officially to the management before taking the decision,” he remarked.

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