By MUHAMMED S. BAH
Auxiliary staff of the Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital (EFSTH), on Tuesday, 14 February, 2017 held a protest to demand for the payment of their credit union dues which are being deducted from their salaries by management.
The protest of the staff, comprising orderlies, cooks, launderers, cleaners, security and some nurses, started at 8 am when they assembled at the main gate of the hospital calling for the management to pay their six months deducted payment to the credit union.
They were later called by one Dr. Fakebba Samateh to come into the hospital premises to discuss the issue amicably.
When this reporter attempted to witness the discussion with Dr. Samateh, he was told by the latter to excuse them as they are discussing as a family but the staff insisted that he should stay.
According to Ebrima Sanneh, a staff orderly, they have been facing a lot of difficulties with the account for the past six months.
“The hospital deducts a certain amount from our salaries which depends on the amount a person receives as payment for the credit union and they are not paying it to the credit union,” he claimed.
Sanneh further noted that they do all kinds of work at the hospital, such as cleaning, attending to patients when they come, carrying corpses, among many other jobs but they receive less pay and even that payment, he added, is not paid on time. He said he comes to work from the Kombos on a daily basis and begs for free lift from passing vehicles almost every day.
.Similar concerns were raised by Muhammed Al Amin Darboe, also an orderly. He said if the board and management cannot increase their salaries, they should try and pay their salaries on time and also try to make sure the monies deducted are paid to the credit union.
Arret Jah, a cook, said they are not going to work until the matter is resolved by management.
“This is where we feed our kids, so therefore the management should consider our welfare as workers,” she remarked.
Haddy Mendy, another orderly, stressed that they have been facing these challenges for quite some time and have been engaging the management on the issue but that the matter is yet to be resolved.
“This is where we can go and get money when we are financially challenged, to settle most of our needs,” said Fakebba Samateh, an orderly.
He, however, pointed out that during the political impasse they really suffered financially because they were not paid and when they went to the credit union to claim their monies they were told that the management has not paid their monies yet.
Some of the other nurses, security personnel and other lab attendants made similar complaints.
The hospital staff lamented the low salary scale, poor working conditions, particularly when they are on night duties as well as inadequate materials to work with.
Foroyaa approached Marie Secka, the hospital’s accountant, to shed light on the matter but she declined to comment on the issue. “I cannot talk and I am employed by the hospital management, so try and see with the Chief Medical Doctor,” she suggested.
This reporter went to see the medical doctor but his office was locked and the secretary told him that the Chief Medical Doctor will be coming around 12 noon. However, when this reporter waited for him until after 12 noon, the Chief Medical Doctor did not arrive. The Public Relation Officer was also not available for comment at the time.
Foroyaa will further make efforts to talk to the hospital management.