On May 31, 2023, the contractual paramedical and support staff at Ludhiana civil hospital initiated an indefinite strike to protest against the non-payment of their salaries for the past three months.
This strike has caused inconvenience to patients seeking medical care. Ward helpers, staff nurses, and technician assistants were absent from the outpatient departments (OPDs) and wards, resulting in chaotic scenes at the hospital with long queues of patients and their attendants at the OPDs.
The protest, organised by the user charges and employees’ struggle committee, has created a severe shortage of support staff in the hospital. Patients who arrived at the hospital for medical treatment were left struggling as there was limited staff available.
An anonymous senior doctor at the civil hospital acknowledged the obvious difficulties faced by patients due to the strike. The absence of a significant number of paramedical staff has made it challenging for doctors to carry out their duties smoothly.
Members of the striking committee stated that they had made multiple requests to the hospital administration, but received no response. They had initially set a 10-day deadline for the release of two months’ wages, which expired on May 17, but there was still no action taken by the hospital administration or the health department.
In an attempt to resolve the situation, the hospital management offered to immediately pay one month’s salary to the employees, but the strikers remained firm in their demand for the release of two months’ salary together.
Chairman of the committee, Raj Kumar Sathi, and employee leader, Raj Kumar Hapi, emphasised that the striking employees were facing severe financial hardships, which could only be alleviated by receiving three months’ worth of salaries. They announced that the strike would continue until their demands were met.