Bangalore: The Association of Resident Doctors of Karnataka (KARD) on Monday called an indefinite strike to demand payment of the Covid-19 risk allowance. As part of the strike, medical residents across the state decided to withdraw from all elective services, including the outpatient department (OPD) and elective operating theater, in all medical schools affiliated with the KARD. They added, however, that emergency services will not be part of the strike.
“We have worked hard to manage the Covid-19 pandemic, even compromising all of our academics and against the risk of getting infected under adverse conditions. As a result, postgraduate students lost half of their course duration without acquiring the bare minimum of clinical and other skills, ”said KARD President Dr Tejas J.
KARD is an association of internal surgeons, postgraduate students and super-specialized residents of Karnataka government medical and dental colleges.
In May, the government of Karnataka announced a Covid allocation of ??10,000 per month from April 2021 for all medical residents. The association said the funds had not been released by the government even after six months, calling it “blatant disregard” for doctors on the front lines.
Highlighting a nearly 400% increase in academic fees, the association said the situation was even worse by forcing them to pay the full amount up front without any concessions during “these troubled times”. He added that countless symbolic protests, letters to the concerned authorities and a pan-state demonstration had no fruitful results. “It is unfortunate to note that the assurance given by the Ministry of Medical Education was not kept. The intention to solve the problem is not visible because the resident doctors have been excluded from the Covid risk allowance package recently announced by the government of Karnataka, ”read a statement from the association.
“We have no choice but to display our dissent in this regard with an indefinite strike in Pan-Karnataka from November 29, 2021, including the withdrawal of all elective services, including OPDs and elective TOs (excluding emergency services) in all medical services Colleges affiliated with KARD, ”he added.
Meanwhile, maintenance staff, ward residents, elevator operators, data entry operators and security personnel employed at Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute (BMCRI), held a protest on Monday, demanding payment of wages on time.
The workers claimed they did not receive October’s pay. Maitreyi of the Karnataka General Labor Union, affiliated with the Central Indian Council of Trade Unions (AICCTU), said workers cannot afford the rent on their homes and have no money to buy food for their families.
“The workers did not receive the salary for October 2021. According to the labor law, workers must receive their monthly salary on the 7th of each month. However, since the BMRCI did not secure payment of the October salary, workers are struggling to make ends meet. Without a monthly salary, they are unable to pay their children’s school fees or go to medical emergencies, ”she said.
Ramesh Krishna K, medical director at Victoria Hospital, however, claimed that the payment of wages was delayed because the outsourced agency did not pay the workers. “I have informed the dean and the director, and we are in the process of fixing the problem,” he said.