Hundreds of commuters, passengers and other road users were on Friday stranded when workers of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Teaching Hospital, Ogbomoso blocked the ever busy Ogbomoso-Ilorin Express Road.
The placard-carrying workers who sang various solidarity songs also wanted the government to pay the outstanding eleven months salaries comprising six months balance of last year and five months for the year 2017.
Some of the inscriptions on the placards read: “Enough is enough since January 2016”, “We are hungry”, “Lautech Teaching Hospital workers are dying of hunger”, “Ajimobi please pay our salary in full” and “Any government that fails to pay rightful wage of its workforce is worthless”.
Others read, “O to gee fun Aabo owo osu (it is enough for half salary)”, “Ajimobi don’t wait for God’s wrath”, “A father that fails to feed his household while boasting of being a constituted authority is clueless”, “what is our sin in Ogbomoso land”, “God will rescue us from the hand of Ajimobi”.
It was learnt that the problem of delay in salaries started in 2016 when the state government wrongly classified the teaching hospital as one of the tertiary education institutions in the state that have students from whom the institutions collect tuition fees.
Ladoke Akintola University of Technology students who use the teaching hospital for their clinical training however pay their school fees statutory to the University and as such denying LTH any opportunity of generating revenue from the students.
Secretary, Committee of Unions, Abiodun Lawal who spoke on behalf of his colleagues, informed that the workers are rejecting the idea of half salary outrightly, demanding the government to start paying full salary.
He also called for the immediate correction of the class and status of LTH Ogbomoso as a tertiary health institution, noting that the hospital is primarily established for research, training and service.
“The hospital cannot charge unduly high fees for the services being provided, otherwise the common man in the community will not be able to afford it.
“Make LTH Ogbomoso work, health care os an essential service of the government to its citizens. LTH provides health care services to the people of Oyo state and the neighbouring states. It is a tertiary health institution established for research, training and service in that order.
“We demand that the government start paying us full salary. We demand urgent payment of the arrears of 2016 salaries and timely payment of full salary henceforth as well as the immediate correction of the class and status of LTH Ogbomoso as a tertiary health institution”
Lawal who said that the workers have gone to every length, particularly through relevant stakeholders to reach the governor, yet no result insisted that the workers decided on the protest as a stakeholder to call government attention to the situation of the workers and the hospital itself before things go out of hand.
“The half salary situation has made us loose some of our best hands. We are due for another accreditation but I doubt if we can pass it. Our fear is that we might even loose some of the accreditations we had.
“We have lost most of our best hands to other hospitals, especially those we trained with Oyo state money. We are crying out as stakeholders before the whole system collapse.”