Lucknow: National Health Mission (NHM) workers in the Basti district of Uttar Pradesh (UP) declared an indefinite strike on Monday over their longstanding grievances, including non-payment of wages, and demanded a written assurance from the state government.
Salaries, raises and arrears have been on hold since August 2020, with the UP government apparently not releasing funds.
In an open letter to NHM Director Aparna Upadhyay and the District Magistrate, the employees wrote that they were going through immense financial hardship which makes it difficult for them to perform their duty effectively and meet their financial commitments. towards their families. Employees further wrote that they could not continue to work without pay and had no choice but to “make our voices heard unless drastic action is taken”.
“It is regrettable that we had to adopt this course of action and publicize our grievances to attract the attention of the authorities to release funds for the payment of our salaries, raises and arrears. We have been made to work without pay since February,” said Ajay Kumar, secretary of NHM Association Uttar Pradesh. Newsclick.
“Employees were forced to boycott the work to ensure that higher authorities take heed,” the letter read. “(Since) NHM staff are the backbone of the state health service , the timely release of our salaries should be the state’s priority so that employees perform their duties effectively and efficiently.Our request for the release of funds to pay outstanding salaries on time is reasonable and our grievances are sincere,” the union said.
The protesters said that despite their vital contribution to achieving all the goals of the NHM, the state government ignored their demands. They claimed to have already met with the director of the NHM but the government ignored their requests. The union demanded that employees who have completed three years of service be entitled to a loyalty bonus of 10% and those who have completed five years to a bonus of 15%.
“Although we have worked tirelessly during the pandemic, we have not received a salary for the past seven months. There is a provision to raise salaries every two years,” said one of the protesting employees. Newsclick.
The state health department had announced a fee of Rs 200 per day during the vaccination campaign. “ASHAs, ANMs and the community health officer were on call from 8am to 6pm and met the targets set by the government. However, the government failed to release the amount owed,” the union alleged. Also, the Rs 10,000 Protshahan Dhanrashi was not paid to ASHAs and ANMs, the staff further alleged.
The situation for NHM workers in other districts is no different. More than a lakh of staff from various health facilities under the NHM did not receive a salary in the last month and a half due to “lack of budget”, Newsclick reported earlier.