Sanitation workers of AIIMS Trauma Center on strike

Sanitation workers of AIIMS Trauma Center on strike

The Jai Prakash Narayan Apex Trauma Center (JPNATC), AIIMS faced problems in handling patients on Monday as 293 sanitation workers went on a strike.

Work related to sweeping, putting beds in place and assistance in laboratories suffered at the leading trauma centre of Delhi which receives patients who are in dire need of immediate care.
“There was no assistance today in attending to the patients. Also, the toilets and other parts of hospital are not cleaned properly,” said a nurse on duty. The workers are demanding wages in accordance with government guidelines on minimum wages which were revised in April last year. They are being paid Rs 4,500 per month though the revised minimum wage is Rs 6,656 for unskilled workers.

“We are demanding wage according to the work we do. Why should that be a problem?” said a worker protesting at the gate of the trauma center. The category of workers are known as sanitation workers. However, having been at  the centre for five years or more, they perform other duties as well.

“We not only assist technicians in cleaning laboratories, but also position the patients properly during CT scan. After 5 pm, when radiologists leave, we do their specialised work if needed,” said another worker. They claim they stitch patients’ cuts and pack instruments as well.

“We applied in December for revised wages. Now the hospital has to take a decision,” said Dr Bindeshwar Pathak, head, Sulabh International that manages the workers. He said the company had placed alternative staff to manage the Center on Monday.

The contract allotted to Sulabh International in 2009 for two years, expired in November 2011. Sulabh has asked for the increase of wages from Rs 4,500 to Rs 7,500 per month per person.

Wage delay
The workers also complained of delay in monthly wages. “The company gets the cheque from the Trauma Center by 4th or 5th of every month. But we receive our salary only by 27 or 28. There is no provision of provident fund or any other kind of benefit. We do not have minimum medical cover. We are not even given injections to fight infections acquired in the hospital,” said the workers.
Trauma Center authorities refused to comment.

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