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Updated: September 11, 2009 22:31 IST

Medical College teachers withdraw strike

Staff Reporter
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The strike was called off after Health Minister P.K. Sreemathy agreed to look into the anomalies in the current pay revision.
The strike was called off after Health Minister P.K. Sreemathy agreed to look into the anomalies in the current pay revision.

All duties that were being boycotted by the KGMCTA for the past three months to be resumed with immediate effect

The Kerala Government Medical College Teachers’ Association (KGMCTA) withdrew its strike, which has been continuing despite the Government approving revised pay scales, on Friday following discussions with the Health Secretary and the Health Minister who promised to look into the anomalies in the current pay revision.

The president of KGMCTA A. Sarathkumar told the media here that while KGMCTA had serious objections about the Government diluting the promises of a UGC-level pay scale to Medical College teachers, it was withdrawing the strike as the Government had said that it was willing to discuss all unresolved issues. The issues included the extended working hours, reduced patient care allowance and the lack of facilities for research activities.

The Government has also agreed to constitute a committee to look into the anomalies in the newly revised pay structure and service conditions, he added.

All duties that were being boycotted by KGMCTA for the past three months as part of its strike demanding revised pay scales, including pay ward admissions, VIP and examination duties, will resume with immediate effect, Dr. Sarath said.

The Government had announced the newly revised pay structure for Medical College teachers on Wednesday. Though the package offered substantial hike in pay, the Government also linked it to service conditions like extended duty hours and a ban on private practice by doctors.

However, KGMCTA rejected the package as the Government had unilaterally fixed Patient Care Allowance at 15 per cent of the basic pay, which was not sufficient, according to doctors. The Health Minister had on Thursday asked KGMCTA to withdraw the strike and resume pay ward duties immediately. But till late night on Thursday, even as discussions were on with the Government, KGMCTA had been holding on to its stand.

He clarified that the issue of private practice ban had never been a contentious issue to the present KGMCTA leadership because during initial discussions itself, KGMCTA had said that given a respectable salary, doctors were willing to give up private practice.

“Our stand is that whether or not to impose a ban on private practice is a Government’s policy decision and we will not interfere in it,” Dr. Sarath said.

Meanwhile, the newly elected KGMCTA leadership has been vehemently opposing the ban on private practice . But Dr. Sarath, the out-going president who had been defeated by a slender margin by the lobby opposing private practice ban, said that the KGMCTA’s election results were not official yet. The central executive committee of KGMCTA was meeting on Sunday to hold re-counting of votes.

Even if the newly elected group managed to stay on, according to KGMCTA’s constitution, they can officially take over only after the annual general body meeting when the charge would be handed over by the out-going leadership.

“Till that time, all official decisions taken by the current leadership will stand. As the present president of KGMCTA, I am announcing the withdrawal of the strike,” Dr. Sarath said.

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