NHM contractual workers observe strike in Punjab demanding job regularisation

Around 9,500 contractual workers under the National Health Mission in Punjab on Thursday observed a one-day strike to press their demand for job regularisation.
"We observed a complete strike at all district headquarters in protest against the state government's attitude towards our job regularisation demand," said Inderjeet Singh Rana, the president of the NRHM Employees Union, Punjab.

The protesting employees, including doctors, staff nurses and lab technicians, have been demanding regularisation of their jobs.

"A total of 9,500 health staff under NHM have been working on contract for the past more than 11 years. We have been demanding job regularisation but nothing has been done so far,” said Rana.

The agitating workers were also upset over an advertisement given by the state health department, inviting applications for several posts, including staff nurses.

"Instead of regularising our job, the health department now wanted to hire new staff for regular posts,” said Rana.

They demanded a meeting with Chief Minister Amarinder Singh over their demand at the earliest. “Otherwise, employees will go on strike from July 27,” warned Rana.

Meanwhile, state health minister Balbir Singh Sidhu on Thursday appealed to NHM staff not to go on strike.

The minister in an official release said the entire world is fighting against the COVID-19 crisis and the health employees are at the forefront.

At this juncture, the staff working under NHM should not even think of such a move as this would not only be "anti-mankind" but also against their call of duty, said Sidhu.

He exhorted the health workers, especially staff nurses, to keep serving the people of the state in the manner they have been doing especially after the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic.

He further said that despite all odds, the department gave NHM employees six per cent plus 12 per cent special COVID-19 increment about two months ago.
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