The ambulance drivers of the advanced life support system (ALS) ambulance drivers are on an indefinite strike since July 26 against the modifications in their employment conditions and payment after the handover of the ambulance service tender to a different company by the state government.
Two emergency health facilities 102 (maternity facility ambulance) and 108 (emergency ambulance) affected by the strike are government-operated ambulance services. The services are run by the government while private companies take care of their management on a contractual basis.
The protesting drivers have said that working conditions offered by the new company are unjust and unfair given that they were involved in frontline work even during the peak of the COVID19 pandemic. The new company has reduced the salaries of the drivers. Along with that, the drivers are supposed to pay 20,000 as a training amount.
‘Earlier, when I was working under GVK Ambulance Service Pvt. Ltd, I was being paid Rs 12,734 but the new company will give a remuneration of Rs 10,700 and the working hours will be 12 hours. We demand the government to either keep the tender with the same old company or hire us under the National Health Mission,’ Gaon Connection quoted Akhilesh Kumar, the Sitapur district head of the protesting association.
Meanwhile, an FIR by the state administration has been filed under the provisions of the Epidemic Diseases Act and the Essential Services Management Act against Hanuman Pandey, the state head of the Jeevandayni Swasthya Vibhag — the ambulance drivers’ association.
The protesting ambulance drivers have demanded that their salaries be fixed at around Rs 23,000 per month along with an inflation allowance every year.
They have also demanded that the training clause which requires them to pay an amount of 20,000 for training should be reverted. Furthermore, a compensatory amount should be provided by the administration to the family of the drivers who lost their lives while working during the COVID19 pandemic.
Even though talks between the protesting ambulance drivers and the administration have been continued, both parties have not reached any mutual conclusion. The protesting drivers have asserted that the protest will continue until all their demands are met.