The staff had submitted two memoranda to the contractor in the last two months demanding an increase in their salaries

Nearly 500 housekeeping workers of the Kasturba Hospital staged a protest in front of the old the hospital entrance in Manipal on Monday demanding an increase in their salaries and other facilities.

The protesters said the hospital had outsourced the appointment and management of housekeeping staff at the hospital to a private firm (Master Staffing Solutions Pvt. Ltd.).

The staff had submitted two memoranda to the contractor in the last two months demanding an increase in their salaries. But they received only a small increase in their salary, hence they decided to protest.

In a memorandum submitted to the manager of the firm, the protesting housekeeping staff said they had been working with the hospital for several years but their salaries and the dearness allowance paid to them were too low.

In response to the memorandum submitted by the housekeeping staff on June 7, the company had increased their salary but the revision was nominal especially in the context of escalation in the cost of living.

Since some posts of the housekeeping staff were vacant, the existing staff had to fill in for these posts. The protesters demanded overtime payment for this. A staff member should not be made to work in nightshifts for more than a fortnight every month, the memorandum added.

Srinivas, who works as a ward boy at the Kasturba Hospital, told The Hindu that the housekeeping staff basically did the work of ward boys in the hospital. They were paid Rs. 6,018 a month while those working in other departments were paid Rs. 2,000 more.

“Except for Sundays, we are not given day off. If we work in the night shift for a month, when will we get time to do our personal work? Our protest will continue till our demands are met,” he said.

The protesters later submitted a memorandum at the Deputy Commissioner’s office and to MLA K. Raghupathi Bhat.

‘Salaries revised’

Registrar of Manipal University G.K. Prabhu said the revised salaries to the housekeeping staff were released with effect from April 2012. “The protesters should request the MSS. If the MSS comes to us, we will discuss (the issue) and take it forward”, he said.