Ambulance drivers go on indefinite hunger strike

About 50 members of the 108 Ambulance Drivers’ Association, protesting against their employer GVK EMRI, went on an indefinite hunger strike on Monday.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, Shrishail Hallur, State president of the association said they would continue the hunger strike until the company pays them their due salary from January, with arrears and overtime pay. The company should also hire again the 153 drivers whose services were terminated for going on strike, he added.

Led by former minister Gulihatti Shekar, close to 2,000 drivers and paramedics of the 108 Arogya Kavacha Ambulance services are continuing their protest at Freedom Park. “We have not been given salaries since January. Most of us have also worked overtime, for which we have not been paid,” he said.

Former ministers Basavaraj Horatti and B T Lalitha Naik also expressed their support to the protesters on Monday and promised to talk to Health and Family Welfare Minister U T Khader in this regard.

Officials with the GVK EMRI said their decision was final and that there was no question of hiring back the employees who were fired. Abhinav K Jayaram, State Head of GVK EMRI, said, “The ones who have returned and signed the undertaking have been given their dues. Officially, the protesters who are refraining from duty are termed as ‘absconding without notice’. They are entitled to their dues only if they come back. In case they chose to stop the protest and return, we will see what has to be done.”

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