Monday, 30 March 2015

GVK EMRI Crisis in Goa's Health Department, employees resort to protests

Bharat Mukti Morcha expresses solidarity and support to the 133 agitating employees of the GVK EMRI 108 ambulance service system in attached to the Department of Health Services, Government of Goa that was started on 5th September 2008. 

The employees currently are protesting at Azad Maidan, Panjim with few of them including women resorting to hunger strike. Bharat Mukti Morcha delegation led by Maggie Silveira visited the agitating workers on March 29, 2015 and offered words of support. On quick queries it was revealed that GVK stands for Gopal Venkat Krishna Reddy, and EMRI stands for Emergency Management Research Institute. The scheme had 33 Ambulances for the pick ups from 33 spots across the state of Goa. 

Employees in a bid to resolve their grievances formed Union in 2012. Things headed for confrontation due to non-co-operation of the GVK management and the employees who hail from all over Goa are jobless from 18 February 2015. 11 committee members (3 females and 8 males) of their union known as "108 Ambulance Service Employees Union" stands terminated. Goa CM Parsekar is asking for written apology for protest of the employees violating ESMA Act to press for their demand. Employees has refused to tender written apology. The emergency medical Technicians - 30 females and 30 males along with 70 pilots (drivers) are jobless at present. These employees are not paid their salaries from the month of February 2015.

Worker has been facing various difficulties such as recovery of the cost of damage to the vehicles while in service. The annual increment of their salary is just Rs.11/-. The company is classified as non-profit and not registered with labour department of Goa government even though the principal employee is Government of Goa.

Employees disclosed that they are also not given holidays nor maternity leave. Pregnant women are made to work till the eight month of pregnancy. Women are also made to work on night duty.

Christopher Norman Parakha from Uttarkhand in North India was the Head of Operations when Laxmikant Parsekar was a Health Minister. When Parsekar took over as Chief Minister of Goa three months ago Parakha drew a monthly salary of Rs. 51,776/- while workers salaries capped at around Rs.9,000/-. All salaries are paid by Goa Government. Chief Minister Parsekar immediately after his swearing-in-ceremony got Parakha as his Officer on Special duty (OSD) to the office of the Chief Minister (CM).

It may be noted that GVK has also submitted tender for Mopa Airport construction that Parsekar is pushing strongly for in eastern Pernem. GVK was awarded the contract of 108 Ambulance service of Health department without any tender and without permission from labour department.

Bharat Mukti Morcha has taken note of the following points raised by the workers:

1. All 33 stations to be operated efficiently in public interest with good quality drugs and on board facilities.

2. Security to be provided to the ambulance field employees, at least for female employees.

3. Contract with GVK EMRI need to be scrapped and a corporation under the control of state Government to be formed and the 108 Emergency service to be operated under the corporation.

4. Till the formation of the corporation the GVK company the present contractor should revoke all termination unconditionally and reinstate the worker with continuity I service, Back Wages and other consequential benefits.

5. The present contractor should sign a MoU with Union to this effect.

6. All labour laws applicable to the employees be implemented with immediate effect.

Currently around 5 ambulances are in operation with staff brought in from Telangana and provided police protection. Police protection was never provided to agitating employees from Goa in spite of requests while they were on duty.

It looks as if the Chief Minister of Goa Laxmikant Parsekar is not only the captive slave of Defense Minister of India Bamon Manohar Parrikar but also of the Parakha, his choice OSD for the greater ruin of public interest, Public Health and labour interest. Ruling Party BJP was started and continues to be under control of Bamons.

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