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UP: Kalyan Singh Cancer Institute Paramedical Staff, Nurses Protest Against pay Cuts

The paramedical staff and nurses, about three hundred in number, sat on a dharna at the entrance of the hospital building.

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Lucknow: Health services were paralysed on Saturday for hours at Kalyan Singh Super Specialty Cancer Institute (KSSSCI) in Lucknow following a work boycott by nurses and paramedical staff protesting pay cuts.

Work at outdoor and indoor wards was affected due to the boycott call given by the contractual workers who alleged facing pay cuts for the last two months. The paramedical staff and nurses, about three hundred in number, sat on a dharna at the entrance of the hospital building, demanding salaries.

They said their pay was deducted without prior notice, and salaries of some nurses were also not paid due to their absence. 

Shouting slogans against the institute and service provider, the protesting paramedical staff alleged that the service provider went back on its promise that it had made during a meeting last month.

The protesting contractual staff further stated that the management of the cancer institute was trying to evade them by making false promises instead of meeting them and hearing out their demands. They stated that while their long-pending demands including salary increment, employees provident fund (EPF) and medical facility were yet to be heeded by the institute, the department had imposed cuts on the meagre salaries.

Atul Singh, a physiotherapist who was leading the protest, told NewsClick, "Majority of the nurses and paramedical staff draw a monthly salary of Rs 18,000, of which Rs 5,000 has been deducted. Besides, we are not given regular salaries. A time gap of two to three months is common in getting a monthly salary."

He further added, "More than 300 contractual workers have been affected due to pay cuts. We are already being given less salary than the grade fixed by the previous service provider. Meanwhile, a new service provider Sudarshan got the tender in February. It was promised twice in the past to increase our salary, but they failed to fulfil them. Hence, we decided to protest till the administration increases our salary."

The protesting paramedical and nursing staff said that they had approached the faculty and director of the institute but did not get a supportive response.

"The new service provider firm Sudarshan Facility has arbitrarily fixed the employees' salary. Earlier, those employees who were given a pay scale of Rs 18,000, are now being given Rs 13,000. The new firm is completely ignoring the rules made by the old contracted service provider," an employee said. 

The outsourced nurses began the strike Saturday, demanding wage hikes and regularisation. The nurses have been working for over 10-15 years with a meagre pay of Rs 18,000 monthly. Instead of increasing their pay and regularising them, a huge amount has been deducted without notice. 

This is not the first time that health workers have come out to protest. The paramedical staff and nurses of the cancer institute had held a protest when the service provider failed to increase their wages last year.

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