The health services at the Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh were hit on Thursday when around 1,500 contractual workers went on strike.
The contractual workers, who are demanding the same wages as regular staff as well as regularisation of their services, have announced that their strike will continue for the next two days.
On Wednesday, on a call given by the PGIMER Contract Workers' Union, the workers gathered in the lawns of the research block and started raising slogans against the PGI administration.
These workers largely comprised hospital attendants, sanitary attendants, clerical staff and receptionists. There are a total of 1,580 contractual workers who are members of the PGIMER Contract Workers' Union. Most of them didn't join work on Thursday morning, hitting sanitation services.
The institute doesn't have many regular workers in areas where contractual workers have been employed.
The contractual workers said the PGI administration had not implemented the decision of the deputy chief labour commissioner (central), Chandigarh, under Rule 25 (2) (v) (a) of the Contract Labour (Abolition and Regulation) Rules, 1971, as communicated on January 11, 2010, to grant similar wages to contractual workers as paid to the workers directly employed by the PGI.
The union has also been demanding the abolition of contract labour system. It reasons that since work at the PGI is perennial in nature, engaging contractual workers is a violation of Section 10 of the Contract Labour (Abolition and Regulation) Act, 1970.
The union claimed that the PGI had engaged contractual workers against regular sanctioned posts, which was "clear exploitation of the downtrodden strata of society". In the recent past, the PGI has witnessed several agitations, including strikes by nurses and resident doctors.