HYDERABAD: As many as 240 emergency management technicians (EMTs) and pilots associated with the ‘108’ emergency ambulance service across the State were terminated from service on Sunday for participating in strike and boycotting duties. Another 40 were terminated on Saturday, bringing the total number to 280 employees.
The GVK-EMRI management brought in drivers and EMTs on bench to continue their services, and increased the number of doctors in their Emergency Response Centre Physicians to guide new employees in handling critical emergencies. There are a total number of 326 ambulances and 1,516 pilots and EMTs. Besides, more than 360 are on bench and are called in whenever there is shortage of staff.
While a driver and an EMT are allotted to each ambulance, the Telangana State ‘108’ Ambulance Employees Union alleged that a few ambulances plied with only a driver on Sunday.
The management of GVK-EMRI said that their first principle of work was to pick up patients and drop them at nearest hospital where the required treatment is provided.
Employee union’s state president P Ashok said that they want the emergency services, currently managed by GVK-EMRI, to be brought under the control of the state health department and the working times of pilots and EMTs be reduced from 12 hours to eight hours.
Since the employees are staging a protest by working for only eight hours instead of 12 hours on a shift, they get off the ambulances between 4 am and 8 pm, and 4 pm and 8 pm.
Claiming that the union had a membership of more than 1,400 employees, he threatened to launch ‘total boycott’ of services anytime after August 15 if GVK-EMRI management continued to take harsh measures against employees.
Out of the 1,450 pilots and EMTs, at least 284 had been on protest since Saturday. They have 180 EMTs and 180 pilots who pursue other jobs. They are called in when there are such crises. Though they are trained, they do not have the expertise which an employee with seven or eight years’ experience has.