THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The future of 47 staff members of the Thycaud Women’s and Children’s Hospital, whose services were abruptly terminated on May 9, is hanging in the balance. The hospital authorities have ignored a High Court order staying the termination for six weeks, but have ‘allowed’ them to work as casual labourers during the stay period.
The hospital authorities claim that the stay order issued on March 16 is not valid. A senior official at the hospital said: “A stay order is valid only if it arrives before an order is implemented. In this case, the stay order came after the termination order was implemented. We will submit an affidavit in the court stating this, when it reopens on Wednesday.” Mahesh Kumar, district joint secretary of Hospital Development Society Employees’ Union (CITU) and also one of the staff members to loss his job, said: “We were not given prior notice about the termination. How can we obtain a stay order for something we did not anticipate? By ignoring the stay order, they have committed contempt of court. We will bring it to the notice of the court on Wednesday. We will also approach the CM and the Human Rights Commission if no decision is taken.” The 47 workers were contract-based daily wage workers, whose tenure ended on May 9. For many years now, whenever their contract ends, it is renewed after a day’s break. But in March, a different set of contract-based workers were terminated. When they went to the court demanding that their tenures be extended just like the 47 others, the hospital authorities terminated the 47 workers too.
Following their protests, hospital authorities had agreed to discuss the issue and take a decision about their reappointment after May 16, the counting day. But on May 17, the workers were told that the decision will be made only after M Beena, Hospital Management Committee Chairman, joins duty on June 4.