Displaced guards say they had no clue about the termination of their services

Security guards at the Government Wenlock Hospital, who have been working here for the past four years, were in for a rude shock when they came to work on Sunday. “I found some other guard manning my security outpost,” said Reshma (26), a woman guard.

Clueless about what was going on, she began searching for her other colleagues. Soon, she came to know that all the 18 security guards of the hospital were in a similar situation. Together they approached their supervisor only to be told that their services had been terminated.

“There was no explanation or warning. The supervisor even asked us to give training to those who replaced us,” said Seetharam (32). Left with no option, the displaced guards, most of them women, staged a dharna outside the hospital with the support of the city unit of the Democratic Youth Federation of India.

Clarification

Resident Medical Officer of the hospital B. Saroja said that not only the security staff but the cleanliness attendants too were set to be replaced. Most of the over 60 attendants are working in the hospital for 12 to 14 years. Ms. Saroja said that the new staff had been appointed by the Kasturba Medical College (KMC), which had taken the responsibility of providing security guards, nurses and cleanliness attendants as per the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed with the Government recently.

Agreement terms

As per the Memorandum of Understanding, students and doctors of the Kasturba Medical College will be given near-complete control of the hospital. In return, the medical college has agreed to fund some development projects and bear the cost of providing security, cleanliness and nursing services.

Ms. Saroja said that there were allegations against most of the displaced guards. However, when it was pointed out to her that most of the contract workers were women, she said: “It is the wish of the KMC management. These workers are all on contract.”

No reaction

The news about the MoU was first made public on January 11, 2010, when the Medical Education Minister Rmachandra Gowda visited the city and held consultations with KMC authorities in the presence of N. Yogish Bhat, MLA, who is credited with mooting the idea.

Mr. Bhat, who had promised to absorb the contract workers at the time of signing the MoU, however, refused to comment on the issue when The Hindu contacted him on Sunday.

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