Rajasthan ambulance staff strike continues for fourth day
The state-wide strike of the Rajasthan government ambulance service employees continued on Thursday – the fourth day -- following failure of their talks on wage hike.jaipur Updated: Mar 22, 2018 22:24 IST
The state-wide strike of the Rajasthan government ambulance service employees continued on Thursday – the fourth day -- following failure of their talks on wage hike.
The ambulance service employees have been shunning work since Monday to press for their 15-point demand, including the salary hike, which, they say, has been denied for the last five years.
Staff of 108 emergency service, 104 Janani Express and the base ambulance service shaved off their heads and performed ‘sadhbudhi yagya’ to protest against the “adamant attitude” of the government and the service-providing company, GVK-EMRI.
“Last night talks failed and our strike continues. We have shaved off our heads in protest and even performed sadhbudhi yagya,” said Virendra Singh Shekhawat, president of the Rajasthan Aapatkaleen Ambulance Karamchari Ekta Union.
“Patients are facing problems, but the service provider and the government are responsible for this, as the union had submitted its demands to the chief minister on February 22, and announced the agitation on March 14.”
Shekhawat said nearly 6,000 ambulance service employees have joined the strike. “The service provider is exploiting its employees and our demands include increasing salary, overtime payment, among others.”
Health department and GVK-EMRI officials held talks with union leaders late on Wednesday evening. After the talks failed, the health department took possession of 108 ambulances parked at the agitation spot. Talks could be held late on Thursday evening.
GVK EMRI public relations officer Bhanu Soni said Rajasthan has 1,506 ambulances -- 730 of 108 service, 587 of Janani Express and 189 base ambulances. Around 220 were plying in the state on Wednesday, and the number increased to 290 after alternative arrangements made by GVK-EMRI.
On an average 3,500 patients are brought to hospitals by these ambulances every day, Soni said. “500 drivers and emergency medical technicians (EMTs) have been called from other states where GVK-EMRI is running ambulance services. A few agitating staff have resumed duty, and recruitment process has started at a few district headquarters.”
The ambulance employees resorted to the strike within days after the government’s March 16 notification, which declared the 108 emergency service, 104 Janani Express service and the base ambulance service as part of the essential services under the Rajasthan Essential Services Maintenance Act (RESMA), 1970.