Lucknow: Irked over non-payment of salaries since the past two months, over a hundred security guards at a COVID-19 government hospital in Uttar Pradesh's Noida, Sector 39, some of whom were specifically engaged in COVID duty, have started a protest outside the hospital gate.
The security guards allege that despite instructions from the Health and Family Welfare Department to not delay salary payment, some clerks in the accounts section of the hospital where they have been deployed, continue to harass them when they are asked about salary dues.
The security guards say they are facing difficulties in paying house rent and managing their daily expenses. “We have been tirelessly working in critical conditions day and night, like doctors and nurses. But we have not been paid our salary for the past two months. We are away from our homes and do not have enough money,” said a security guard from Bihar, requesting anonymity.
"Why should we protest for every small demand and for something that's our right? Why should we have to protest to get paid for our work," another guard told NewsClick.
Amit Kumar, president of the security guard’s union, told NewsClick that all the security guards employed at the hospital were on strike. They were last paid their salaries in August. He said the guards had written to the hospital management last Tuesday, warning them of a more intense agitation if salaries were not disbursed soon.
"Salaries have been delayed for two months. We were last paid in August. Earlier too, there has been a two-three month delay. We are fed up with this,” Kumar said, adding that nobody, including around over a hundred security guards on COVID duty, has been paid.
The letter by the protesting security guards, a copy of which is with NewsClick, read: “In the interest of patients we have worked silently with complete devotion till date. It is very difficult to fulfil our daily needs without salary. We have our financial difficulties and obligations and the situation has now become intolerable.”
It may be noted that Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, on August 4, had inaugurated this dedicated 400-bed government hospital for COVID-19 patients in Noida. The facility has come up in association with Tata Trusts and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, according to officials.
Shauvik, a Communist Party of India (CPI) leader in Noida, who has been supporting their cause said that the security guards had urged the state government to resolve the issue at the earliest but government did not pay any heed.
"It is a matter of shame and disappointment that ‘COVID warriors’ are deprived of their basic salary and are being forced to work under extreme stressful times without any payment," he added.
NewsClickreached out to the hospital’s medical superintendent, Renu Aggarwal, who refused to comment.
This is not the first incident of delayed salaries to frontline workers in Uttar Pradesh hospitals. On April 4, NewsClick had reported a similar case in Banda Medical College, where nursesheld a protest against the principal for alleged misbehaviour, shortage of personal protective equipment or PPEs and salary deduction. Twenty six medical personnel were terminated for taking part in the protest.