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Ambulance workers in U.P. threaten to halt work

Police personnel stop commuters during a nationwide lockdown in Moradabad on March 30.

Police personnel stop commuters during a nationwide lockdown in Moradabad on March 30.   | Photo Credit: PTI

They say they are not being given proper protective gear.

Around 16,000 emergency ambulance workers in Uttar Pradesh have threatened to stop work if the company hiring them did not provide them with proper protective gear while handling the COVID-19 cases.

They have also demanded that their salary, which is allegedly not paid since January, be immediately released for them to carry out their work.

Also read: Coronavirus | Medical staff to be lodged in 5-star hotels in U.P.

 

In a letter to GVK EMRI, the private company that hires them and runs ambulance services in U.P. in contract with the government, the Ambulance Karmachari Sangh has demanded that if the requirements of the workers are not met by noon on Tuesday, they will halt work and stay at home. They run dial 102 and 108 emergency ambulance services in U.P.

Also read: Coronavirus lockdown | In Uttar Pradesh, workers made to go round in circles

 

Brijesh Kumar, general secretary of the ambulance worker’s union Jeevandayni Swasthya Vibhag, wrote to the GVK EMRI saying the workers be provided with proper gloves, masks, PPE kit, sanitizers and other necessary items. Their salaries should also be immediately released while also being provided with an incentive amount during the time of COVID-19.

Mr. Kumar also demanded that the ₹50 lakh insurance package announced by the Centre for health care workers be immediately implemented.

An ambulance worker in Pratapgarh Madhukar Singh provided a snapshot of the alleged shortcomings faced by them. “Four of us have got only 15-20 masks. How many days will they last? These masks get spoilt after two hours of use,” he told reporters.

Mr. Singh said that ambulance workers did not receive their salary for the last two months while having to work without proper masks, sanitizers or gloves.

“We don’t have sanitizers, gloves or masks for our safety, considering [we are working with] the Coronavirus-positive patients,” he said.

Hanuman Pandey, president of the union, said he spoke to U.P. Health Minister Jai Pratap Singh but was told to contact the private company employing the workers. “You are private employees, talk to your company, he told me,” said Mr. Pandey.

Around 16,000 ambulance workers are on the field currently. “We are on the verge of starvation as we have not get our salary for two months and on top of that, we are not getting any safety amenities,” he said.

Asked which districts were the worst affected, he said barring a couple of districts, where they received safety kits, this situation prevailed in entire Uttar Pradesh.

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Printable version | May 26, 2020 12:25:05 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/ambulance-workers-in-up-threaten-to-halt-work/article31214742.ece

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