The strike taken up by over 800 outsourced employees of Gandhi Hospital was called off on Wednesday after Health department officials assured them daily incentives of ₹300-500 apart from alternate weeks of work and quarantine. Besides, outsourced nurses were promised a hike in salary and can expect to be paid ₹25,000 a month.
While over 210 outsourced nurses working for the past five to 10 years at the hospital are paid around ₹17,500 a month, recently-appointed outsourced nurses were offered ₹25,000 which triggered protests.
Two days after the 210 nurses boycotted duty demanded job regularisation and salary hike, over 600 outsourced nurses in different jobs joined their protest. They included 110 patient care providers, 200 sanitation staff, 100 security staff and over 200 Class-IV employees who draw a salary of ₹9,500 per month.
With that, the strength of protesters went up to over 800, all of whom were involved in COVID-19 duty. With their boycott, medical services at Gandhi Hospital were badly hit. Regular employees and newly-appointed outsourced employees were pushed into work. Besides, regular employees who were on quarantine were also asked to attend duty as a stopgap solution. Despite that, services and hygiene at the hospital took a beating.
“Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) which is dumped in bins in the corridors were not cleared for an unusually long time. Other services for patients were also hit,” said doctors at the hospital.
The protesters led by employees’ unions met Director of Medical Education K. Ramesh Reddy and superintendent of Gandhi Hospital M. Raja Rao on Wednesday evening to discuss their issues. Outsourced employees from other hospitals also attended the meeting.
“Officials have assured salary of ₹25,000 per month to the nurses and incentive of ₹500 per work day. The salaries of sanitation staff, patient care providers, security personnel and Class-IV employees will continue to get ₹9,500 per month, but have been assured ₹300 per month as daily incentive. All of them will be offered one-week quarantine followed by one week of work. Everyone has called off the strike,” said All India Trade Union Congress Hyderabad City Council general secretary M. Narasimha.
Sources in the Health department said an anomaly in GO 14, which assures minimum pay, will be corrected to work in favour of the over 210 outsourced nurses. “There is a favourable response to the file. Besides, another file related to daily incentives too is under circulation,” sources said.