Health workers: Hundreds stage sit in, ‘won’t leave till regularised’

Traffic on The Mall, adjoining arteries halted for several hours.

Hundreds of lady health workers staged a demonstration on The Mall and blocked traffic for hours. PHOTO: ABID NAWAZ/EXPRESS

Hundreds of lady health workers from across the province staged a demonstration against the non-regularisation of their services and blocked traffic on The Mall till the filing of this report on Monday.

Negotiations between LHWs and Parliamentary Secretary on Health Khawaja Imran Nazir remained unsuccessful till the filing of this report.

The protesters said that 50,000 LHWs were yet to be regularised in service even though the Supreme Court had instructed the Punjab government to do so. The protesters carried placards and banners demanding that the government give them their rights.

Traffic on The Mall and surrounding roads was halted for several hours due to the protest. Several LHWs fainted during the day-long demonstration and had to be provided first aid, however, none of them was in serious condition.

LHWs Association President Nasreen Munawar said, “We have every right to protest. The government has been completely indifferent towards us and has denied us our rights for too long. The government must act upon the Supreme Court’s directive and issue a notification regularising our services.”

She said that when the LHWs had protested on The Mall on September 16, 2013, Health Secretary Babar Hayat Tarar had assured the LWHs in writing that their services would be regularised by November 16, 2013. The department is yet to act upon its commitment and has even fired several LHWs, she said. “The Supreme Court had told the government to pay us our salaries till the fifth of each month...we haven’t received our salaries for the last five months. We are not being treated as government servants,” Munawar said.

Health Director General Zahid Pervaiz and EDO Dr Zulfiqar also tried to placate the LHWs but they refused to end their protest till a notification for their regularisation was issued.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 18th, 2014.


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