The emergency ambulance services provided by 108 remained crippled today following a strike by employees. The meeting between the employees and the Health Minister remained inconclusive and the 108 Ambulance Employees Association announced continuation of the strike. The employees of Ziqitza Healthcare, which provides the ambulance services, are demanding the regularization of services, better salaries, Rs 50 lakh accidental insurance cover, and the reinstatement of the sacked employees.
Union chief Manpreet Nijjer said the 108 ambulance service was started in 2011 and since 2013, they had not received any increment. He also highlighted the long working hours and lack of support for employees and their families. “We have been working for 12 hours at a stretch. If any employee tries to raise his voice, then he is either thrown out of the job or transferred. No help is provided to the family if any employee dies during the accident. During Covid, we did duties without any hitch and many employees tested positive as well but no special allowance or appreciation was given to us,” said Nijjer.
He further added that they had not been given any casual or privilege leave and now weekly off days were also being cancelled.
The main demands of the employees are to eliminate the contract system and regularize jobs, increase salaries to Rs 30,000-35,000 on the Haryana Government pattern, call back employees who have been expelled, provide a 10% annual increment, accidental insurance, and job on compassionate basis. The union has announced an indefinite strike until their demands are met. The government will be responsible for the consequences. The ambulances have been stationed on the roadside to avoid inconvenience to the public.