NHM Workers in UP’s Basti Declare Indefinite Strike Over Delayed Salary
NHM employees in Uttar Pradesh’s Basti strike work on Monday.
Lucknow: National Health Mission (NHM) employees in Uttar Pradesh’s (UP) Basti district declared an indefinite strike on Monday over their long-pending demands, including non-payment of salaries, and demanded a written assurance from the state government.
Salaries, increments and arrears have been pending since August 2020 with the UP government reportedly not releasing funds.
In an open letter addressed to NHM director Aparna Upadhyay and the district magistrate, the employees wrote that they are going through immense financial hardship, making it difficult for them to perform their duty efficiently and fulfil financial commitments to their families. They employees further wrote that they cannot continue to work without salaries and have been left with no option but to “make our voices be heard unless drastic measures are taken”.
“It is unfortunate that we had to take this course of action and publicly publish our grievances to draw the attention of the authorities to release funds for payment of our salaries, increments and arrears. We are being made to work without salary since February,” Ajay Kumar, secretary, NHM Association Uttar Pradesh, told Newsclick.
“The employees have been forced to boycott work to ensure that the higher authorities finally to take heed to,” the letter read. “(Since) the NHM staff are the backbone of the health services in the state, timely release of our salaries should be the state’s priority so that employees perform their duties effectively and efficiently. Our demand for the release of funds to pay pending salaries on time are reasonable and our grievances are genuine,” the union said.
The protesters said that despite their vital contribution to achieving all NHM targets, the state government had been ignoring their demands. They claimed that they had already met the NHM director but the government did not pay attention to their demands. The union demanded that employees who have completed three years of service are entitled to a loyalty bonus of 10% and those who have completed five years a 15% bonus.
“Despite working tirelessly during the pandemic, we haven’t received salaries for the last seven months. There is a provision to increase salaries every two years,” one of the protesting employees told Newsclick.
The state health department had announced a honorarium of Rs 200 per day when the vaccination drive. “The ASHAs, ANMs and community health officer were on duty from 8 am to 6 pm and met the targets fixed by the government. However, the government has not released the due amount,” the union alleged. Besides, the Rs 10,000 Protshahan Dhanrashi hasn’t been paid to ASHAs and ANMs, the staff further alleged.
The situation of NHM workers in other districts is no different. More than one lakh employees of various health institutions under the NHM have not received salaries in the last one-and-a-half months due to the “lack of budget”, Newsclick has reported earlier.
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