The Young Doctors’ Association (YDA) Punjab on Tuesday conditionally postponed its strike scheduled for Wednesday, giving the Punjab government till May 16 to meet the rest of their demands. YDA Pakistan, however, has said that if the YDA Punjab goes on strike they would oppose it.
The government had announced on Monday a package for public sector doctors. The YDA Punjab was unhappy with some service related issued. The general council of YDA Punjab meeting on Tuesday in Bahawalpur unanimously decided to give the government till May 16 to meet the remainder of their demands.
The YDA Punjab has conditionally welcomed the Punjab government’s announcement regarding the raise in doctors’ salaries, a spokesman said. YDA Pakistan leaders, however, extended unconditional support to the government’s package and hoped that service related issues would be resolved amicably by the committee. They said they would oppose YDA Punjab if it resumed its strike in the teaching hospitals.
YDA Punjab press secretary Dr Aftab Ashraf told The Express Tribune that the government had not fulfilled the commitment it had made to them. He said the government had backed out of its earlier promise of upgrading all public sector doctors’ jobs.
Dr Ashraf said the government had allowed a Rs10,000 allowance to the doctors from BPS 18 to BPS 20 but had not promoted them.
The government, he said, had also not made it clear yet if the raise would be given in installments or in one go. He said the YDA Punjab was promised by the committee that the entire raise would be given immediately.
He said the government had also not fulfilled its promise for pay protection. The Rs3,370 pay protection was insufficient, he added.
He said that medical officers work on a contract basis for 10 years and get 10 increments during their tenure. He said that when these doctors were given regular jobs or selected as assistant professors their increments might be withdrawn.
Dr Ashraf said it was clearly unjust that a regular-service MO would take a salary of over Rs40,000 while peers on contract would receive a salary of Rs30,000 once their services were regularised.
He said the government should add all the increments in the case of such doctors.
He said the government had promised them that their service structure would, like that of other public servants, include a time-scale promotion.
He said that for a BPS-17 MO recruited through the Punjab Public Service Commission there was no guarantee when he would be promoted to the next grade.
He said the committee had promised that notification regarding their raises would be made at the time of the announcement but that had not been done.
He said they had demanded that notification be issued for July 1.
YDA Pakistan’s Dr Salman Kazmi said that they welcomed the announcement of the pay package by the Punjab government. He said this was an immediate relief to the doctors’ community by the government. He said that though the package was less than what they had demanded, nevertheless it was an excellent and timely decision by the government in view of the financial constraints.
He said that YDA Punjab despite having over 20 meetings with the government were unable to break the deadlock. While YDA Pakistan had had only one meeting with the committee and the issue had been resolved.
He said the government had formed a committee to bring the doctors out of the national pay scales and they were part of those negotiations.
Health Department officials said that they had constituted a special committee including all stake holders for revising the service structure of doctors and paramedics. The committee, they said, would formulate its recommendation at the earliest.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 11th, 2011.