Navale hospital staff in Pune protests for salary dues of 6 months, management assures dues will be cleared
At least 450 staff members of Kashibai Navale Hospital and Medical College, in Narhe, on Saturday protested outside the hospital over non-payment of salary from December last year.
Currently, the hospital has Covid-19 (coronavirus) patients mostly from rural Pune.
One of the protesters, who works in the nursing department of the hospital from the past four years on condition of anonymity, said, “We have been waiting for the management to settle our dues from the past six months now. We want a clear assurance from Maruti Navale sir (chairperson of Sinhgad institutes) on this as the management is not giving any clear answers.”
“Our hospital is a Covid-19 isolation centre and so only the staff which is not involved in the treatment of the patients is protesting,” she added.
Navale hospital is attached to Kashibai Navale Medical College and is run by Sinhgad Technical Education Society (STES). Founded by Navale, STES has been facing financial troubles for the past two years.
Despite multiple attempts, the hospital dean Dr Shalini Sardesai, the dean of the college and MN Navale chairperson of Sinhgad institutes could not be reached for comments.
The protestor added, “While talking to us in the afternoon Navale sir clearly said that the trust has no money to pay us unless the students pay their dues. It has become very difficult for us to continue with our routine expenditure without salaries for six months.”
“Later in the evening after an internal meeting, the management has now assured us that they will release part payment before June 30 and the remaining before August 30. We will resume work from Monday as we do not want the patients to suffer,” the protestor said.
Dr Ramchandra Hankare, chief health officer, Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), said, “It is a private hospital and only the management can answer for the salary dues as it is an internal matter. As far as Maharashtra Essential Services Maintenance Act (MESMA) 2006 is concerned the hospital has to impose it on their staff, we as administrators cannot do it.”
The Maharashtra Essential Services Maintenance Act (MESMA) 2006 was implemented on May 29 in Pune for doctors and nurses in private hospitals. Consequently, the administration has the power to take action against doctors and nurses who refuse to treat COVID-19 patients, as well as those who do not attend medical services.
Ayush Prasad, chief executive officer, Pune Zilla Parishad, said, “As soon as I heard about the protest, I did check if there are any pending bills, but I found that there are no pending bills with us under any government schemes.”