Employees of Harkisondas Hospital, Girgaum on Monday met the hospital management to demand job security in the wake of the proposed closure of the hospital for repairs.
"We were kept in dark about the news of the closure. The notice put up by the management stated that we will be discharged from our services. This has come as a rude shock. We want to work and demand job security," said Ramchandra Gawade, unit president, Maharashtra General Kamgar Union, Mumbai.
On January 5, the hospital management put up a notice announcing the closure of the hospital for repairs. The notice mentioned that both the hospital buildings are more than 80 years old and require extensive repair, civil work and reconstruction.
"We have not stopped admitting patients and we have not discharged any admitted patients. We have given a notice of 45 days and we will discuss with the unions what is the best way to go ahead," said the hospital spokesperson on Monday.
The multi specialty hospital has 224 functional beds with nearly 600 staff members including nurses, clerical and technical staff, ward boys and sweepers. Run by a charitable trust, the hospital is supported by Reliance Foundation. The hospital premises consist of two buildings including an 85-year-old heritage structure.
The notice also said that rising operating cost, without commensurate revenue has left the trust with accumulated loss of more than Rs 90 crore and that the operations of the hospital in its present form are not economically sustainable. It further stated that in these circumstances, it will not be possible for the trust to keep its employees gainfully employed and may require to discharge them.
"If the hospital is closing down only for repairs then that means it will reopen. Then why are they discontinuing our services altogether? We want a guarantee that after the repairs we will get our jobs back," said Gawade. Employees have suggested that repairs being carried out in a phased manner and incorporation of the staff in the new hospital building being built on the premises.
The hospital spokesperson said carrying out repairs in a phased manner would delay the process. "We will take care of all the employees as each of them is of paramount importance to us," the spokesperson added.