Shillong: After two months of being put on hold, 108 emergency services will finally resume in Meghalaya by Friday evening.
The resolution came after a meeting convened by state health minister AL Hek with the Emergency Management and Research Institute Workers’ Union (EMRIWU) and the management of GVK.
After a long meeting behind closed doors, Hek informed the media that the meeting held on Friday was able to resolve the crisis of the EMRIWU, and that the union has agreed to the terms set by the management and have agreed to resume duty.
GVK EMRI state head Deepankar Choudhary said, “All the issues brought up by the field employees were addressed and resolved today during the meeting. Ambulances will be up and running in a phase-wise manner as they have been down for the last two months, so we have already been repairing the ambulances. So as and when they are ready, they will go up subsequently starting today. Whatever has been resolved and addressed will be taken care of.”
Concerning the demand for hike in salary of the employees, Choudhary said, “It has been taken care of and agreed upon by both the parties. The agreement arrived at is that there will be a basic hike of 10% and an overall increment of 10%.”
The services of the ambulance will be put up in phases. “It will be in phases. Maybe today, we can put Garo Hills and this side with 10-15 ambulances running. It’s not that we operate from Shillong, so it has to go back to its bases. So depending on that, in phases, it will go up. Some ambulances need some maintenance to be done as it has been down for so long,” added Choudhary.
The management also informed that it is working hard to ensure that the services in all the 43 locations will be up and running in the next two to three days.
Concerning the salaries of the employees, if it would be deducted or not, the management said that the health minister will look into it and find a compromise formula where the organisation or the employees don’t suffer.
The EMRIWU had staged a protest for almost two months, after it started the strike on September 30. The union had alleged that their 36-point charter of demands was ignored and this led to the agitation. EMRI employees’ main concern was over lack of proper facilities, ambulance and salary, among others. On September 29, the employees had also resorted to a hunger strike before calling it off on October 11.