Lucknow: Hundreds of state-run Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Medical Science (SGPGI), Lucknow, employees began an indefinite strike under the banner of SGPGI Karmachari Mahasangh on Friday demanding salary revision, patient care allowance and regularisation of jobs.
The employees, including permanent and contractual nurses, paramedics and cleanliness and office workers—abstained from work in the intensive and critical care units, operation theatres and emergency duty as well.
The employees have demanded allowances as per the 7th Pay Commission with retrospective effective from July 2017, restoration of the institute’s complete autonomy and revision of salary of the contractual staff vis-a-vis the pay of their counterparts at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi.
“The SGPGI is one of the premium institutes functioning since the UP government passed an Act to create it in 1983. Both the institute and AIIMS have been functioning similarly in terms of teaching, training, research, and work system since the SGPGI was established. Therefore, the staff’s salary should be on par with that of their AIIMS counterparts. We have also demanded revision of salary as per the 7th Pay Commission,” Jitendra Kumar Yadav, secretary, SGPGI Karmachari Mahasangh, said.
Despite their relentless fight against COVID-19 in the last two years, the grievances of the employees were ignored and their allowances cut, the union alleged. “This ‘COVID Warrior’ certificate given by the government is the biggest proof that we worked day and night for the patients without thinking twice about ourselves. Now, when things are under control, we are being denied our basic rights,” a protesting doctor from Rajkot village, Etah district, said.
According to the union, more than 400 SGPGI employees were infected during the pandemic and several of their relatives who contracted the virus died due to lack of treatment. The federation has passed a resolution demanding a 25% increase in honorarium.
“Pay parity with the AIIMS staff and according to the 7th Pay Commission has been a long-standing demand of the SGPGI employees. We did not pressure the government during the pandemic because we didn’t want to create hurdles. But despite our hard work, the government is not paying attention to our plight,” Yadav said.
The other demands of the employees include payment of allowance for food, uniform, nursing care, etc; introduction of old pension scheme for the regular employees recruited after 2004, regularisation of contractual staff and designation of nursing officers for staff nurses.
The government has never fulfilled any demand of the employees, the union alleged. Chief minister Yogi Adityanath has promised to provide AIIMS-like facilities to SGPGI doctors and contractual workers after a Cabinet meeting on January 29, 2019. However, the employees alleged that they were betrayed by the government despite the death of scores of hospital workers during the pandemic.
“We will continue the strike until our demands are met. We had no option but to strike work as we have been fighting for our demands for a long time,” an employee said.