Health workers go on indefinite strike in Karnataka

Thousands of contractual and outsourced employees demand equal pay and job security


Over 23,000 employees of the Karnataka State Health Contractual and Outsource Employees Association (KSHCOEA) have announced an indefinite strike starting today, due to the failure of the Department of Health and Family Welfare (HFW) and Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar to meet their demands.

The employees, who include doctors, nurses, ground staff, and lab technicians, are demanding equal pay and job security, and will assemble at Freedom Park to protest. All regular services provided by these employees as part of the National Health Mission will be suspended until their demands are met.

The KSHCOEA has repeatedly drawn attention to the issues faced by their employees, but their demands have not been met. A report submitted by the Srinivaschari committee recommended increased salaries, permanent job security, and SHARE health insurance schemes for these workers, but the government has failed to implement these recommendations. Despite receiving assurances from Dr Sudhakar during the Bengaluru Chalo strike in July 2022, no progress has been made to address the demands of the KSHCOEA employees.

The demands of the KSHCOEA include equal pay for equal work, direct payment of wages by the government to outsourced employees, implementation of social security schemes, compensatory jobs for employee families, incentives for contract employees, bonuses for outsourced employees, the ability to transfer employees from district to district, and insurance coverage. The employees have expressed their frustration at the government’s lack of action and have vowed to take their demands to the streets once again.

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