Shillong: The indefinite strike, called by the members of Meghalaya Emergency Management and Research Institute (EMRI) Workers’ Union to press for their various long-pending demands, enters sixth day on Saturday.
Speaking to EastMojo, secretary, Meghalaya EMRIWU, Susan Erica Lyngdoh, said, “Before forming the union we had gone to the field staff to seek help from the government. We had submitted our charter of demands to the health minister, to the CM and to the ministers’ in-charge of this department, but to no avail. They kept us waiting and never took this demand seriously, which led us to form this union. Even after that we still sent them the charter of demands, yet they did not respond. We resorted to a peaceful agitation. Because, we know being field staff how difficult it is for the public when the ambulance service is disrupted. Even though we are sitting here yet we are not happy thinking about people who need our service.”
“We are not here protesting to hurt the sentiments of the people, but we are fighting for our rights. The ambulance provided has become useless and we are just managing with what we have. The conditions of the ambulance are rusted, stretchers don’t work, no proper latch, no proper equipment, there is a need for new ambulances. Our demands consisted of 36 demands to list a few- the need for new ambulance and equipment, leave policy to be fair and just, salary and wages, posting and transfer, protocol, interdepartmental promotion, and grievance redressal,” added Lyngdoh.
Lyngdoh said that the GVK EMRI will not face any loss because the employees’ salary is deducted. The salary deducted does not have any uniformity and no clarity on why their salaries were deducted. The GVK management had met the employees assuring them a 10% increment on the condition that they will not agitate in the future.
Mirajul Mondal, an emergency medical technician from Garo hills said, “We have been harassed and mistreated. We work for 24-hour with no proper facility. With the terrible road conditions in remote areas of Garo hills and with the situation of the ambulance is terrible that it keeps disrupting our work. At times we are stranded, which causes major problems to our patients. Even though the ambulances are fixed but after few days it fail to work. Even the place that we have been put up at, it is an old government building with no proper doors and windows.”
While speaking to EastMojo, Roypar Kharraswai, president of Meghalaya EMRIWU, said, “We have not received any notification from the government regarding termination of GVK EMRI contract. Whatever notification the government is making we are getting to know from the newspapers only. Like mentioned earlier, even if the service is removed the government has to ensure that we are not left jobless and they should retain us.”
As part of the strike, over 200 field staffs have parked their ambulances at Lawmali, Shillong. The union alleged that the management breached the status quo agreement that was breached by the state government in July, 2019.