Patients at receiving end as PGI workers go on strike in Chandigarh : The Tribune India

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Patients at receiving end as PGI workers go on strike in Chandigarh

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 11

Hundreds of patients suffered as the PGIMER contractual staff today held a protest demanding regularisation of their jobs and release of dearness allowance (DA) and arrears. Though the PGI administration took help of some private NGOs to manage the patient rush, the work remained affected.

Volunteers of Vishav Manav Ruhani Kendra, an NGO, help patients at the PGI during the workers’ strike on Tuesday.

“Though the Emergency and OPDs functioned normally, other services were hit due to the strike,” said a PGI official. “I have travelled all the way from Mansa, but no one is attending us here. We are pushing the stretcher on our own from one department to another,” said Sonika Kumari, an attendant with a patient.

“We are waiting since morning to get the possession of a body, but the employee responsible for wrapping the cadaver has not joined the duty,” said an attendant.

Earlier this year, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare had approved a sum of Rs 46 crore to the PGIMER for the release of arrears of wages. However, the contractual workers’ Joint Action Committee (JAC) claimed that there was no response from the hospital administration. The protesters claimed that last month, the PGIMER administration assured them that revised wages and other benefits would be released after June 6. “Our demands are not being heard properly by the PGIMER authorities. Even when the government has cleared our arrears, the authorities are not interacting with us,” said a protester. Members of six contractual workers’ unions, including safai karamcharis, security guards, attendants and electricity workers, are part of the JAC.

Strike called off

After a meeting in the evening, the PGI Administration gave a written undertaking to release arrears of the financial years 2018-2020 by today, and that of past four years by June 30. The workers then called off their strike and resumed work after 8.30 pm. In a communique, the JAC stated, “Though there has been no satisfactory settlement or outcome, yet the committee has decided to withdraw its protest in interests of patients and public at large.”

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