GVK EMRI
GVK EMRI Workers Union stage sit-in demonstration near the Additional Secretariat in Shillong recently. Image credit - UB Photos

Meghalaya health minister A.L. Hek has directed the health and family welfare department to convene a meeting with the management of GVK EMRI and agitating staff members on July 22.

This development comes following the indefinite strike called by the Meghalaya EMRI Workers Union (MEWU).

The strike began all over Meghalaya on Friday in protest against the alleged adamant attitude of the management of GVK EMRI to address various demands raised by the staff.

Also read: Meghalaya: GVK EMRI workers declare strike, emergency service to be hit

The union alleged that the management of GVK EMRI is adopting a policy of ‘hiring and firing” people instead of addressing the grievances of the emergency workers.

“In view of the strike called by the workers of GVK EMRI 108 emergency services, and in view of the disruption of life saving emergency services, the minister for health and family welfare department had various consultations and parleys with all concerned parties,” a statement issued by the government on Friday night said.

Hek also directed the health and family welfare department to convene a meeting on July 22 with the EMRI management and striking workers.

Appealing to the striking workers of EMRI to immediately resume services, Hek said, “EMRI 108 services is an essential, emergency, life saving service which when disrupted, is causing immense hardship and difficulties for the poor, needy and sick patients who have no other means of urgent referral to nearest health facility  in case of medical exigencies.”

The minister assured that the state government was exploring all options for finding early resolution.

The union also demanded 20 per cent increment of salary, sanctioning of manpower, and local to local transfer of staffs.

The union strongly opposed any move to terminate the services of as many as 12 field staff members who refused to comply with the transfer orders issued by the management.

The union also asked the Meghalaya government to take over the emergency service especially when the state government is funding 100 per cent to the GVK EMRI to run the emergency service.

“If the management does not stop illogical transfer of field staff, we have no other option but to halt our services. It is important to note that if a Khasi field staff is transferred to Garo Hills, the problem of communication will arise and this affects and puts the life of patients at risk. Therefore, we demand that transfer should be based by taking these things into consideration,” the union said.

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