KARACHI: The unpaid paramedics of the Jinnah Post Graduate Medical Centre’s (JPMC) neurosurgery department protested on Wednesday and criticised the hospital administration for taking action against two of their colleagues who had raised their voices in another demonstration a couple of days back.
A doctor who works at the department, meanwhile, said that the employees’ protest did not affect any activities in the ward, and expressed his hope that their concerns would be addressed.
The paramedics, who have not been paid since the past two months, protested outside the directorate and accountant offices.
JPMC’s neurosurgery department employs 120 people, who work from grades one to 15. They include technicians for CT Scan, MRI, angiography and operation theatre, as well as nursing attendants, guards and sweepers.
They have been protesting for almost a week, and were particularly upset that the hospital administration had formed an inquiry committee to investigate two paramedics who had lodged their grievances before media personnel during an earlier demonstration.
Ameer Ali Dinari blamed the hospital administration for the paramedics’ predicament, as it came out that the accounts department had not sent their bills to the health department. The employees observed that this lax attitude could be explained by the fact that their service structure had never been clear.
Apart from demanding an immediate release of their salaries, the paramedics also wanted the administration to include them in the computerised pay system like other employees. The average monthly pay of the department’s employees is about Rs8,000, but can go as high as Rs14,000.
“When they can pay doctors and nurses [on time], why are they taking time in our case?” asked Ghulam Sabir, who works in the radiology section of the department. He added that many employees had already quit their jobs because of the delay in the payment of their salaries. “Most employees who work here come from different parts of the country, and could not afford to remain unpaid for up to seven months.” Out of 250 departmental employees, 130 had left during the past year.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 9th, 2012.