Pune, 20th November 2023: Contract officers and staff under the National Health Mission in Maharashtra have initiated an indefinite strike, commencing from October 25, 2023, to voice a range of demands related to their employment conditions. These employees, working across various positions from district to taluka levels under the National Health Mission, are seeking attention from the government for their grievances.
The National Health Mission has been operational in Maharashtra since 2005, significantly contributing to healthcare services in the state. However, the contract officers and employees claim that despite their continuous service, their demands have been consistently overlooked by the government, which has only provided verbal assurances without tangible actions.
The major demands put forward by the Rashtriya Arogya Abhiyan Contract Officer Adjustment Action Committee include:
1) Inclusion in 100% Government Service: Employees who have been rendering continuous service under the National Health Mission for eighteen years are demanding inclusion in 100% government service.
2) Salary Revisions: The contract workers, initially receiving a salary of 6000/- to 8000/- in 2005, are currently working with a meagre salary of 17000/- to 18000/-. They are demanding salary adjustments equivalent to regular employees.
3) Application of Health-related Rules: Contract workers, who served during the COVID-19 pandemic, are requesting the immediate application of health-related rules such as Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC), Provident Fund (PF), House Rent Allowance (HRA), and other similar things to regular employees.
5) Salary Increase: Employees, rationalized in 2018 to a salary range of 18000/- to 20000/-, are seeking a 50% salary increase by the government.
6) Unimplemented Wage Hike: The government reduced the annual salary increment from 8% to 5%. Workers are demanding the immediate implementation of the remaining unpaid 3% wage hike from 2014.
7) Equal Wages for Equal Work: Contract employees are highlighting wage disparities between regular and contract workers despite providing the same service in the health department.
The protesting employees are planning a grand march from Pune Zilla Parishad to Pune Collector’s Office to draw attention to their demands and press the government for meaningful reforms.