Chandigarh: Centre okays ‘equal work, equal pay’ for PGI contractual workers - Hindustan Times
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Chandigarh: Centre okays ‘equal work, equal pay’ for PGI contractual workers

By, Chandigarh
Apr 20, 2024 08:54 AM IST

The decision will benefit around 4,000 contractual workers, who had gone on strike for two days in April over their long-pending demand, crippling hospital services

Having received clearance from the Union health ministry, the PGIMER administration on Friday announced implementation of equal pay for equal work, a long-pending demand of its contractual workers.

The institute heavily relies on these contract employees to fulfil various essential roles, ranging from sanitation and patient care to administrative tasks and security. (HT file)
The institute heavily relies on these contract employees to fulfil various essential roles, ranging from sanitation and patient care to administrative tasks and security. (HT file)

Demanding wages on par with regular employees for similar work, around 3,500 contractual workers from various categories had gone on strike on April 3 and 4, putting patients and healthcare staff through immense hardship.

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Expressing satisfaction with the resolution, PGIMER director Dr Vivek Lal said, “At PGIMER, we prioritise the well-being and fair treatment of all our workers. Our administration’s persistent and proactive intervention with the Union ministry of health and family welfare paved the way for the resolution of the longstanding issue of equal work, equal pay for outsourced workers in sanitation, catering and security services.”

According to PGIMER, the financial implication to provide similar wages was ascertained at approximately 46 crore (based on prevailing DC rates in Chandigarh) from October 2018 to January 2024.

With the approval received from the department of expenditure, Union ministry of finance, PGIMER is now prepared to proceed with the implementation of measures outlined in the ministry of health and family welfare’s proposal.

Ashwani Kumar Munjal, chairman of the contractual workers’ Joint Action Committee, said, “We are happy and thankful to the PGIMER administration, including director Dr Vivek Lal. Dr Lal inherited this problem as the director, but still did his best to resolve it. We are also thankful for BJP leader Arun Sood’s intervention.”

At PGIMER, contractual workers, comprising sanitary attendants, hospital attendants, kitchen staff and security guards, constitute a whopping 80% of the total workforce, while regular employees form only 20%.

As per the records available with the establishment, PGIMER started outsourcing some non-core hospital services in 1996. This was done in sync with the policy of Government of India at the time to encourage public-private partnership.

The institute heavily relies on these contract employees to fulfil various essential roles, ranging from sanitation and patient care to administrative tasks and security. These contract workers play a crucial role in maintaining the day-to-day operations of the institute, ensuring that essential services are provided to patients and staff members.

CACLB decides to hear employees’ plea

The Central Advisory Contract Labour Board (CACLB), New Delhi, has decided to hear PGI Employees Union’s (Non-Faculty) petition after six years regarding abolition of contract labour in Group C and B categories during its 102nd meeting scheduled on April 26.

The petition was filed in 2018 for abolition of contract labour in various jobs of perennial nature. This includes lower-division clerks, lift operators, data entry operator, sanitary inspector, medical record technician, stenographer, storekeeper, receptionist, driver, telephone operator, computer graphist, junior engineer (telephone), laboratory attendant, and dark room assistants, among others.

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