Protest erupts as IGMC contractor fires 31 guards
Shimla, Oct 2,
In a demonstration of discontent, 31 contract security workers from the Indira Gandhi Medical College and Hospital (IGMC) gathered at the Deputy Commissioner’s Office in Shimla on Monday to demand the reinstatement of their jobs.
Organized by the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), the protest featured prominent speakers including CITU State President Vijendra Mehra. Mehra issued a stern warning, stating that if the terminated security personnel were not reinstated, CITU would escalate their demonstrations against the IGMC administration.
Expressing his dismay over what he termed an undemocratic action against the workers, Mehra invoked Mahatma Gandhi’s struggle for political independence, highlighting that vestiges of British-era oppressive laws persist. He emphasized that the removal of the 31 security personnel was a blatant violation of Section 33 of the Industrial Disputes Act of 1947, which designates union-led workers as protected employees.
Mehra insisted that the decision to terminate these 31 security personnel was illegal and demanded their immediate reinstatement. He went on to issue a stern ultimatum, stating that failure to comply would result in a strike within IGMC, and any disruption in health services would be squarely attributed to the IGMC and state administration.
The aggrieved workers allege that the administration is subjecting them to mental harassment and mistreatment. Their termination follows a change in the contracting company, a clear breach of the agreement made by IGMC management with the union and a violation of Section 25H of the Industrial Disputes Act.
IGMC management, in collaboration with the new contractor, is openly flouting labor laws, particularly concerning the reappointment of security personnel who have served for several years.
The protesters’ demands include the immediate reappointment of all security personnel under the new contractor, akin to the ward attendants and sanitation workers.
Outsourced health services staff are blaming senior bureaucrats, alleging that they are coerced into working as domestic servants in officers’ residences, with termination as the consequence for refusal. This controversy echoed a recent incident highlighted by CITU, where three Health Directorate employees were terminated for refusing to serve in the house of a senior IAS officer.
Also read: Controversy surrounds Himachal Pradesh Health Secy’s actions as three outsource employees fired from services
The ongoing dispute has the potential to disrupt health services at IGMC, a premier hospital that serves thousands of patients from across the state. CITU leaders emphasize the gravity of the situation, urging prompt resolution for the sake of patient care and workers’ rights.
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