A month after invoking MESMA (Maharashtra Essential Services and Maintenance Act), 2011, the state government Saturday warned the medical officers on strike in the state to return to work by 8 am on July 6 or face stern action.
MESMA allows the state government to penalise employees whose strike can adversely affect essential services to the public. MESMA was invoked on June 1 when the medical officers went on strike to press for a series of demands.
Around 66 per cent of medical officers in the state have been on strike while 3 per cent from Pune and Konkan areas have resumed work after a notice was issued to them under MESMA.
“We are urging the medical officers to return to work as we cannot let health services in the state suffer. We have asked them to end the strike and discuss their issues with us. If not, we have intimated the police to start action. The strike by MAGMA (The Maharashtra State Gazetted Medical Officers Organisation) is illegal and a non-bailable offence under MESMA,” Sujata Saunik, principal secretary (public health) said at a press conference Saturday.
The state government also plan to publish advertisements for walk-in interviews to appoint doctors in the state on a contractual basis starting Sunday.
The medical officers on strike have been demanding implementation of the Sixth Pay Commission’s recommendations with effect from January 1, 2006. Other demands include increase in the retirement age from 58 to 62 years, regularisation of promotion procedure, optional non-practising allowance for medical officers pursuing PG and fixed working hours.
“While we have agreed to most of these demands, their demands for the implementation of pay panel’s recommendations from 2006 is clearly unacceptable to us. This particular demand will make a dent of close to Rs 173 crore for the state,” Saunik said.
According to MAGMA, the state has been providing assurances of attending to its demands for three years, but none of the demands have been met so far.