Members of the National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives in Ondo State, on Tuesday, went wild during a meeting of the State Executive Council meeting.
The meeting was to discuss issues of the attack on three Nurses at the Federal Medical Centre, Owo, the 50 percent half salary paid to state workers and the relationship of the body with the Joint Health Sector Union, an umbrella body of medical health workers in the country.
But angry nurses in the employ of the state government stormed the meeting with placards demanding for a strike action over payment of 50 percent salary for the month of November, 2020 and other emoluments owed them.
The placards 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.”
Several attempts by the Ondo NANNM leadership to calm protesters down failed.
Ondo Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Comrade Oluwole Adeleye, was booed and mobbed out of the meeting.
Some of the nurses in the employ of the state government said they got N18, 000 as salary.
They said they cannot continue to work on empty stomach until all their allowances are paid.
One of the protesting nurses, Ogunsi Adegbowale, said the Ondo NANNM leadership 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 post. We have waited for our leadership but they have failed us. The state NANNM must issues ultimatum for strike today. We are also tired of JOHESU. We can stand alone.
“We came to realise that our leaders agree 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.
Oyeleye Jowester said 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. That 50 percent is not acceptable to us. Since then our leaders have not spoken to us. We wrote to them but they refused to respond which was why we came to meet them here. We do not want wishy washy leaders to represent us.
The State Chairman of NANNM, Olumiye Kehinde, said there was no notice for strike action by Ondo nurses.
Kehinde said he was surprised that his members invaded the SEC meeting and refused to listen to his explanation.
“I tried to explain the issue at hand so that we can have concrete dialogue at the next meeting. The SEC is the constituted organ to call for strike after meeting.
“I moved off to talk to our members to allow the meeting to hold but the security agent took me away when the place was rowdy.
“There is no strike today in Ondo by Nurses. They know how a strike action is called. When you want to go on strike you must give notices of 21 days, seven days and in between, government may call for dialogue. They know the rules. You cannot just go on strike with 48 hours’ notice.
“The way forward is for us to constitute SEC but members didn’t allow us finish the issue.
“There is no 48 hours ultimatum by nurses to go on strike in Ondo. They knew they must go to their workplace. You must be a nurse before becoming a NANNM member. We will call for SEC when situation improves.
Ondo NLC chairman, Comrade Oluwole Adeleye, said he was not at the Nurses’ meeting to address them but to prevent a pandemonium.
“I was not there to brief them. I was called about a pandemonium there and I went there. I had to call security agents and they whisk the chairman away.”