UP employees unions to gradually stall medical services

As their strike entered its seventh day on Monday, the Uttar Pradesh employees unions announced they would start gradually stalling various medical services in the state-run hospitals and institutes.

IANS| Last Updated: Nov 18, 2013, 13:15 PM IST

Lucknow: As their strike entered its seventh day on Monday, the Uttar Pradesh employees unions announced they would start gradually stalling various medical services in the state-run hospitals and institutes.

The unions said if their demands were not met by the state government, they would hit the medical services one by one.

Keeping up with their earlier announcement, the employees have shut ophthalmology departments in government hospitals across the state.

A union leader said that no eye tests would be conducted in the state-run hospitals from now on and added that from Nov 19, all out-patient departments (OPDs) will also be affected as their staff join the strike.

The leader added that pathology departments and all nurses unions will join the strike respectively from Nov 20 and Nov 21.

Meanwhile, the state government firmed up its position and said it will not bow to unjustified demands of the employees.

Health Minister Ahmad Hasan said the state government will not, under any circumstance, give in to the unjust demands of the state employees.

The Akhilesh Yadav-led state government is also mulling invoking of the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA).

Rajiv Kumar, principal secretary (Appointments), said while efforts were on to "make striking employees see reason and return to work, the option of ESMA is wide open".

Principal Secretary (Health) Pravir Kumar said alternate arrangements were being made to ensure that the strike does not affect medical services in the state-run hospitals and medical facilities.

A government spokesman also rejected reports that there were any financial losses owing to the ongoing strike.

Principal Secretary (Commercial Tax) Beeresh Kumar said since the revenue collection was largely online and e-payment facilities were available, there was no revenue loss to the government due to the strike.

However, officials admitted that due to the strike, work at tehsil-level (sub-district) offices have been badly hit and that work of registration of properties has been affected.

Prisons Minister Rajendra Chowdhary, who is also the state spokesman of the ruling Samajwadi Party (SP), said the state government was ready for talks with the striking employees.

"The striking employees must trust the honesty and goodwill of Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav for them and must return to work," he said in a statement.

Striking employees` leaders said there was no official communication from the state government and that they would settle for nothing short of a direct meeting with the chief minister.

Rajya Karmachari Adhikar Manch president Ajay Singh said that the unions were not averse to discussions but the government must make an honest move in this direction.

"During the rule of Mulayam Singh Yadav too, he had patiently heard out our problems and we had withdrawn our strike," Ajay Singh recalled.