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Karnataka govt prohibits strikes by healthcare workers

BENGALURU: As the Covid pandemic continues to rage, the Karnataka government on Monday banned protests or any form of disobedience by health workers across the state. A notification issued by the government stated that disobeying or refusing to work entrusted by a superior officer in connection with Covid duty would attract penal provisions under the Karnataka State Civil Services (Prevention of Strikes) Act, 1966 (Karnataka Act No 30 of 1966).seent15:13

The circular, signed by Chief Secretary T M Vijay Bhaskar, prohibits strikes, non-cooperation, disobeying or refusing work related to health services, non-submission of reports, non-compliance to orders issued by higher authorities by any public servant, health personnel, regular, contractual and outsourced employees of health department, in the interest of public health. Health workers have been treating patients, putting their own lives at risk. But their certain demands were not met, triggering  protests.

Earlier, ASHA workers staged a protest demanding an honorarium of Rs 12,000 and Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) kits. The strike was called off after the government assured them the demands would be met. But it has been over two months and their demands have still not been fulfilled.

On September 15, doctors under the banner of Karnataka Government Medical Officers Association struck work, stopping all online and offline release of Covid and non-Covid data and demanded  pay parity with their counterparts in the Medical Education Department or pay revision as per the Central Government Health Scheme. After ministers addressed their demands, they called off the strike.

On September 24, 30,000-plus Karnataka State Health and Medical Education Department Contractual and Outsourced Employees Association members protested, demanding job security, wage parity with permanent health staff etc. “Health Minister B Sriramulu has called a meeting on Tuesday. Based on the discussion we will decide what to do next,” said a KSHCOEA member.