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N495M Energy Bill Debt: Nigeria’s First Teaching Hospital, UCH Workers To Close 4pm Over Disconnection Of Power Supply

Staff of the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, will, from Tuesday, April 2, work between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. daily until power is restored in the hospital....CONTINUE READING

Oludayo Olabampe, Chairman of the Joint Action Committee (JAC), the umbrella body of hospital unions, announced this in an interview on Tuesday in Ibadan, the News Agency of Nigeria reports.

The Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC) had disconnected the power supply to the university teaching hospital due to alleged accumulated debt.

Mr Olabampe said that the college hospital had been without electricity since March 19 and could not continue like that.

According to him, “workers would now work from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. only because it is dangerous and risky to attend to patients in that situation”.

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He continued, “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 4:00 p.m. We are not attending to any patient after 4:00 p.m.

“This means that we won’t admit patients because the nurses that will take care of them will not be available after 4:00 p.m., and you don’t expect patients to be on their own from 4:00 p.m. till 8:00 a.m. the following day.

“If patients need blood tests, the lab will not work, if they need radiography, the radiographers will not work.

“The dieticians in charge of their food, too, will not work after 4:00 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 a seven-day warning strike.”

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Reacting to the move, the UCH chief medical director, Jesse Otegbayo, said the union did not officially write the management before taking such a decision.

He said, “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,” Otegbayo added.

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In March, the hospital workers threatened to stay away from work over the continued power outage in the facility.

They disclosed this during a congress organised by their umbrella body in the hospital, JAC, which had members of the Non-academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU); National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NANNM); Nigerian Union of Allied Health Professionals (NUAHP) and Senior Staff Association of Universities, Teaching Hospitals Research Institutions and Associated Institutions (SSAUTHRIAN), in attendance.

Speaking shortly after the congress, Olabampe said that the power supply to the hospital had been cut off by the Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC), since March 19, due to a N495 million debt.