The GVK EMRI (Emergency Management and Research Institute) in Meghalaya is likely to face problem if it failed to address grievances of its employees.
The employees have also asked the Meghalaya government to take over emergency ambulance service from GVK EMRI and accused the private agency of increasing the working hour, by reducing man power.
Members of the Meghalaya EMRI Workers Union met Meghalaya deputy chief minister, Prestone Tynsong on Thursday and aired their grievances before him as they sought the intervention of the state government to improve ambulance service in the State.
Meghalaya EMRI workers union president, Roipar Kharraswai said the union demanded that the state government should take over the emergency service by creating an emergency cell in the health department especially when funds is being fully funded by the government to GVK EMRI.
He said that salary to the employees should not be paid on the principle of ‘equal for equal work’ as per norms of the government.
The Union also demanded quarters and rest rooms be provided for the staff, and old ambulances should be replaced with new ones and install all the required equipment in the ambulance.
The union stated that for one ambulance, the formula for requirement of manpower is 2.75, but the management brought it down to 2.5, which led to increase in the working hours of the employees.
On meager salary, the union said that in Guwahati, even a new recruit would get Rs 17,000 per month, but in Meghalaya it is only Rs 11,000 per month.
Kharraswai said that the meeting with the deputy chief minister was not satisfactory and he asked ‘us to resolve the matter with the management’.
Kharraswai said that there were many problems that should be addressed, from shortage of manpower to absence of leave policy for the employees and this has put the life of employees and the public at risk since the employees have to work under stress.
“The GVK EMRI could not achieve the target of providing the service 24 hours due to shortage of manpower and there are many areas where ambulance service could not reach,” the union said.
Publicity secretary of the Union, Joseph H Pyngrope said that the union wondered why the state health department cannot have its own emergency cell and provide this service to the people especially when 100 per cent funding is being given to GVK EMRI by the government.
He said that there are 108 ambulances that perform duty only 12 hours but not as proclaimed 24 hours service.
Pyngrope also recalled that during a meeting with the health minister, A L Hek seeking his intervention last year, he assured to convene a round meeting to discuss the issue in the first week September 2018, but nothing has happened till date.
“We have not resorted to strike because we don’t want the public to suffer,” Pyngrope said.
However the Union warned that it would have no other choice if the management and the government failed to address the grievances.