Testing times for lab technicians hired on contract in Coimbatore

They quit their private jobs and joined the health department in the hope that they would get priority during the recruitment for a government job in the future.
Image used for representational purpose only. (Photo | EPS)
Image used for representational purpose only. (Photo | EPS)

COIMBATORE: Many lab technicians, who had resigned from private hospitals during the pandemic to work for the health department on contract basis, grieved that the private organisations are now refusing to hire them.

The technicians were engaged in collecting samples from door-to-door and also at camps. They quit their private jobs and joined the health department in the hope that they would get priority during the recruitment for a government job in the future.

As the number of covid cases has now decreased, these contract workers are without jobs. LA Immadulate, who worked in Coimbatore Corporation, said, "I have 15 years of experience as a lab technician. After Covid hit, I quit my job at a private hospital and joined as a temporary staff to collect samples. As many as 150 people, including me, joined in July 2020. During the peak of Covid waves, we used to collect up to 300 samples a day. I was asked to leave in January even though the contract was till March 2022. I attempted to find a job after that. But private organisations have been demanding us to sign an agreement for five years. They also wanted us to submit our original certificates to ensure that we didn't return to the CCMC if Covid hit again. Some technicians had to even hide their experience and join private hospitals for a salary of Rs 7,000," she said.

T Uma, another lab technician, said, "Before Covid, I was drawing `12,000 salary at a private hospital. For the work with CCMC, we were offered Rs 15,000. We hoped that we would be made permanent in a few years. Now, I can't own up to the two-year experience with CCMC as it would mean that I would have to sign an agreement and get a salary of only Rs 8,000-Rs 10000. I have two kids. Financial burden has increased due to this."

Another technician, who does not want to be named, said, "In the last two years, I was tested Covid positive two times as I was involved in sample collection and testing. I had to go on leave without salary both the times. We dedicated two years to the community but we have been left jobless now. Even our four months' salary is pending from the CCMC."

A senior official from the CCMC said, "As per the government norms, they were recruited during the pandemic. Experience certificate for their services was provided. They can use it to get priority during any recruitment by the health department. They were given priority even during the recent CCMC recruitment. We could not keep the temporary employees without a government order."

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