A two-day strike by class 3 and 4 contract employees of Surat’s New Civil Hospital, including Covid hospital, over two months pending salary was called off Wednesday after the salary for November was credited to their bank accounts.
More than 500 contract employees, including pharmacists, laboratory technicians, and x-ray technicians, of the hospital had sat on dharna from Tuesday afternoon demanding the pending salaries for November and December. On Wednesday, work at OPD and operation theatres was disrupted for a few hours due to the strike.
New Civil Hospital medical superintendent Dr S M Patel along with other doctors tried to placate the staffers but in vain. Even officials from Vishwa Enterprise, the firm which holds the contract to supply staffers to New Civil hospital, failed the calm the agitating employees.
Around 5 pm, after Patel held talks with the higher-ups in Gandhinagar, Rs 1.40 crore was released in salary for November. The staffers called off the strike after the hospital authorities assured them that salary for December will be deposited in their bank accounts Thursday.
Parimal Vyas, a spokesperson of Vishwa Enterprise, said, “The salary or November and December was stopped as a new policy was introduced. The employees were facing financial problems and even we failed to convince them to call off the strike. Now, the situation is under control.”
The NCH medical superintendent said, “Last month, the government issued a letter to us saying that payments to all the contract employees should be done through an Escrow account. The work for it was in progress and for that, there was a delay in opening accounts. After the contract employees went on strike, we requested the government to pay the salaries of November and December as per the old format as the amount will be directly sent to the bank account of the contractor who could then clear the salaries of the contract employees. Now, salary for January will be paid through an escrow account.”
In the escrow account, Patel said, there are three parties — payers, contractors, and bank. “We can directly deposit the salary in the bank accounts of the contract employees and pay the contractor separately under this new system,” he said. Patel added the work at the hospital was disrupted for a few hours, but from Wednesday evening operations resumed as the employees turned up for their duties.
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