Lucknow: A day before Yogi Adityanath was sworn in as the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh for a second consecutive term, 200 outsourced health workers of Dr Ram Manohar Lohia Institute of Medical Sciences, Lucknow, recruited during the COVID-19 outbreak in March 2020 were sacked with effect from April 1 on Thursday.
The employees administered COVID-19 vaccines, tested suspected patients and provided outpatient services. Hired to work as operation theatre assistants, ventilator technicians, staff nurses and ward boys, they held a demonstration demanding reinstatement at the hospital amid heavy police presence.
The notice sent to the agency which employed the workers mentioned that they were not laid off in March in view of Holi. The outsourced employees said that the state government should have given them one-month notice.
“We were not informed and abruptly sacked. The health department didn’t consider the selfless service rendered to COVID-19 patients at the cost of our families before taking the decision,” an agitating nurse told Newsclick.
One of the protesting workers who was deputed as a lab technician said on condition of anonymity, “The state government seems to have turned a blind eye towards our demands. During COVID-19, were garlanded. However, now the state government has snatched our livelihood.”
The protesters, who claimed to have been offered job assurance, alleged that despite a large number of vacant posts at the institute, they are not being accommodated.
Extending solidarity with the protesting employees, Left parties recalled how the healthcare staff played a key role when the pandemic was raging by putting their lives at stake. What will happen to these frontline warriors and their families if they are suddenly sacked, they asked and demanded their reinstatement.
This is not an isolated case wherein outsourced employees were suddenly sacked. On March 7, 1,944 sanitation workers of the Lucknow Municipal Corporation were fired citing a “financial bankruptcy”.