Around 55 nurses and 10 sanitation workers who have been hired on a contractual basis at the government owned-Bharat Ratna Late Pandit Bhimsen Joshi (Tembha) Civil Hospital in Bhayandar, have gone on an indefinite strike over non-payment of salaries for the past three months. The strike has been called under the aegis of the nurses association.
Although nurses on the pay-roll volunteered to work in double shifts to minimize inconvenience to patients, healthcare services were severely hit at the hospital. Expressing limitations to sustain the huge administrative expenses to run the medical institution, the Mira Bhayandar Municipal Corporation (MBMC) had requested the state government to take over the hospital.
None of the 140 strong staff have received their salaries
As a result the state government authorities took over the reins of the hospital in 2018. As many as 140 people including 83 technical and 57 non-technical employees were hired on a contract basis as focus facilities by the state health department. However, none of them have been receiving their wages on time for the past couple of years. While civil surgeon Dr Zafar Tadvi remained unavailable for his comments on the issue, Sultan Patel who is the working president of the Vivek Pandit-led Shramjeevi Kaamgar Sanghatana said, “Despite repeated pleas and agitations, the state government authorities seem to be least concerned in ensuring that the para-medical staff get their wages on time. This is not the first time, the contractual staffers who come from a poor economic background have been deprived of timely wages. They have to literally struggle for wages creating financial problems for them to run their families. Many have not been able to pay the school fees of their children.”
Staffers of this hospital, especially nurses and health workers had emerged as a strong frontline healthcare force while playing a crucial role in combating the Covid-19 pandemic.