New Delhi: Eighteen staff members of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) here have been terminated from service allegedly for taking up the issue of "sudden cut in salary" with the AIIMS authorities.
The sacked employees, who are among the 350 other Class IV staff members employed on contractual basis, alleged that they were also manhandled by police when the matter was taken up with the hospital authorities.
They complained that the salary of Rs 9,500 was suddenly reduced to Rs 8,500, without giving any reason.
According to the Delhi Hospitals Contractual Workers Union, a facility management company -- Sudarshan Facilities Pvt Ltd -- was in December 2016 given the contract for hiring housekeeping staff in the main AIIMS Trauma Centre, also known as Jai Prakash Narayan Apex Trauma Centre.
"The workers employed under the contract were hired for Rs 9,500. But, since January this year, the workers were receiving only Rs 8,500. On March 1, the issue was initially taken up with the management of the company, which failed to come up with any reply.
"Thereafter, we approached the Additional Medical Superintendent of AIIMS Trauma Centre Dr Amit Gupta, who instead of solving the matter called police," Mriganka, General Secretary of the union, told IANS.
Mriganka said the police manhandled the group of workers and told them of return to work.
"As the Additional Medical Superintendent failed to solve the issue, we took up the matter with the Labour Commissioner, who spoke to the company representative of Sudarshan Facilities Pvt Ltd and asked us to return to work.
"However, the next day when we reported for duty, we found that the services of 18 of our colleagues were terminated, without restoring the previous salary," said Mriganka.
When contacted, there was neither any response from Amit Gupta nor from Sudarshan Facilities Pvt Ltd.
Seeking minimum wages and timely payments, the workers have also demanded that the terminated staff members be reinstated forthwith, with continuity in service.
In a letter to the AIIMS Deputy Director, the contractual workers' union has alleged that they were also being compelled to perform the work of Class III staff, like OT technicians and computer operators.
This practice was lowering the standards of medical care, as Class IV workers were supposed to do sanitation work, work as ward boys and other similar other works, the letter pointed out.
The letter also mentioned the delays in payment of wages and denial of bonus.
"The workmen are given their wages around 15th to 20th of every month, which violates the Payment of Wages Act. Though the permanent employees at both centres get bonus, these employees doing similar nature of work, even more at times, do not get any bonus during festivals," the letter read.