Around 500 employees of the National Health Mission in Chandigarh demonstrated a protest today to put forth their qualms related to increased pay to the UT administration. The employees protested at the Government Multi-Specialty Hospital (GMSH), Sector 16, Chandigarh.
It is being reported that the UT administration had given a written assurance of an increase in pay to over 500 NHM employees working in the city. However, in order to avail the increase in pay, the workers have been asked to opt for a revision in working conditions. As per the NHM employees, the revised working conditions will increase their workinh hours and also cut down on their annual leaves.
The front line workers have been picking up salaries lower than the minimum wages since 2013. They pressured the UT to change that in August by going on an indefinite leave for 12 days. This pressured the UT’s finance department to issue a letter which stated that they had no objections to meet the additional expenditure of Rs 3.92 crores annually from the state budget to pay the NHM workers at par with the DC rate. DC rates have been set by the Haryana government for every newly employed skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled personnel in the government.
Two months removed from that, the NHM employees are now being asked to fill a consent form for the revision in the terms and conditions for the employment.
These new conditions include the revision of the working hours and leaves of the NHM employees if they wish to seek the salaries at the DC rates. On occasion of not following the revised guidelines, they will continue to draw the same salaries.
Amit Kumar, general secretary of NHM Union, expressed that the health staff feel betrayed by the UT administration. The NHM employees had earlier, in August, demanded a pay at par with DC rate but not working conditions at par with DC rate. He added that the finance department did ensure that the pay would be increased but now is asking to increase working hours and cutting casual leaves of the workers.