Workers of the National Rural Health Mission in Puducherry staged a dharna near the office of the Medical Superintendent of the Indira Gandhi Government General Hospital and Post Graduate Institute demanding regularisation of employment of staff members on contract.

The workers represent 650 people working in Puducherry, Karaikal, Mahe and Yanam, said Sankaranarayanan, who led the protest.

“We are demanding that at least equal pay be given to us. For example, a lab technician working as a contract staff earns Rs. 12,000 while a regularised government staff can earn up to Rs. 53,000,” he said.

The workers are represented by the Confederation of Health Employees’ Association. Workers said NRHM staff in other states had been absorbed into the permanent workforce and that they should be given first preference when positions are filled with new recruitments this year.

The workers have given a list of 25 demands, including the formation of a grievances redressal committee, to the government of Puducherry and the Health Department. They will continue protests and abstain from work for a day next month unless invited for talks, they added.

A source in the IGGH said that though a proposal regarding the regularisation of workers has been given to the government, it would involve a policy decision as the entire project is on contractual basis. A worker can be taken into regular employment only when he is taken into regular posts, he added.

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