Wednesday, 1 January 2014

108 ambulance workers call one-day state-wide strike on Jan 8

 Dec 25, 2013, 03.52 AM
MADURAI: Around 3,000 personnel of the 108 Ambulance Workers Union has decided to go on a one-day token strike across the state early next month in protest against authorities ignoring their long-pending demands. The strike will commence at 8pm on January 8.

At a press meet held here on Tuesday the office-bearers of the union said their rightful demands have been ignored for several years. Repeated submissions to the government and the GVK Emergence Management and Research Institute (GVK EMRI), the private agency that runs the ambulance service since its launch in 2008, received no response so far, the Union members said.

"Around 620 ambulance vehicles operate throughout the state and 19 in Madurai district. Around 3,000 employees including ambulance drivers, emergency medical technicians and call-centre staff will participate in the one-day token strike to highlight our demands," said K Senthil Kumar, state general secretary of Union.

"On an average each ambulance would attend five calls a day. In Madurai alone, we attend more than 100 patients. We tried to avoid the strike to the maximum extent by conducting peaceful protests and petitioning the authorities. But we are forced to announce the strike as our just demands have not been met all these years," Senthil said.

One ambulance driver, who refused to be identified, said, "We are forced to work for 12 hours for a paltry salary of Rs 6,900 to Rs 7,900. Often, we are made to work 14 to 16 hours without any overtime payment. Now, we are also forced to shift patients from one hospital to another which was hitherto done by hospital drivers in government vehicles. This has increased our workload," he said.

The Union has demanded eight hours of work as per regulations. Salary on par with government drivers, payment for overtime work, good working condition with toilet facility and payment of bonus and dearness allowance are the other demands of the union.

The ambulance personnel would carry out the strike as proposed if our demands are not met, said the union representatives.
thanks times of india.

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