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Govt hospitals left guard-less
“If I fail to pay rent in next two days, the house owner for sure will throw my family out, making us shelter-less,” rues a security guard in pale blue uniform, which he has been wearing every day for the past two years.
Visakhapatnam: “If I fail to pay rent in next two days, the house owner for sure will throw my family out, making us shelter-less,” rues a security guard in pale blue uniform, which he has been wearing every day for the past two years. Echoing similar views, another woman security guard shared they have no choice but to put on worn-out uniform after getting it stitched.
Along with him and her, there were nearly 430 security guards working at eight government hospitals in the city have come together to stage a symbolic protest by ‘eating grass’ underscoring the plight of financially crippled workers at the GVMC Gandhi statue in the city on Friday.
Demanding the state government’s intervention over five months of unpaid salaries issue to them, the unorganised sector employees under the aegis of Visakhapatnam Security Guards Workers’ Union (AITUC) launched indefinite strike from Friday.
With this move, the prominent government medical health care centres such as King George Hospital (KGH), Victoria General Hospital (VGH), Rani Chandramani Devi Hospital (RCD), TB Hospital, Mental Care Hospital, ENT Hospital, Visakha Institute of Medical Sciences (VIMS) and Regional Eye Hospital are left without security guards.
According to sources, Tirupati-based Jai Balaji Security Services undertaken the outsourcing contract of all these hospitals and the principal employer has been the superintendent of the government hospital. Speaking to The Hans India, JD Naidu.
general secretary of Visakhapatnam Security Guards Workers’ Union, said Jai Balaji Security Services was not paying salaries to 433 security guards (both men and women in equal ratio) for the last five months despite the principal employer clearing the bills. There are some cases where the principal employer also has been at fault. The pay for the security guards was fixed at Rs 6,495 per month.
“Only after launching massive agitation by the workers, the security services will clear one-month due wage amount of total five or six months. This irregular practice should change as it has been hitting our families hard,” he said.
Despite lodging many complaints with the labour department, none of them were responding to our pleas, the union leader lamented. “Our situation is so critical that we don’t have money to pay for transportation charges to reach the hospitals and discharge our duties,” the security guards spoke in unison.
Adding to the woes, in some cases the security guards’ children were being sent back to homes by school managements for not paying the fee. Visakhapatnam Security Guards Workers’ Union demanded that District Collector Pravin Kumar, Medical Education Director Dr N Subba Rao and Health Medical Principal Secretary Poonam Malakondaiah intervene and sort out the matter at the earliest. “Till the matter gets resovled, the strike of security guards will not be stopped,” the union members stated.
By Abhishek Paul