HYDERABAD: The 108 emergency ambulance service will not be available from Thursday midnight! At least, 1800 employees of the service gave a strike notice to the GVK Emergency Management Research Institute (EMRI)’s management about 20 days back, demanding pay hike. With no response forthcoming, the strike appears imminent.
“We have come up with 15 demands at the outset and have expressed readiness to compromise on many of them. In spite of it, the GVK EMRI management has not responded to our demands. When we approached the health department officials, they are asking us to sort it out with EMRI and said they do not want to interfere,” said B Sudarshan, an emergency medical technician.
Right now, there are 316 ambulances in Telangana and each is manned by a pilot (driver) and an emergency medical technician. About 1800 staff are working all over Telangana and all of them have formed an association. Their main demands include salary hike, eight-hr working shift (currently, they work for 12 hours) and reinstatement of 50 former employees.
“The 50 employees were sacked just for demanding our rights. We requested the management to take them back into service but they have completely neglected our requests. All of us have been serving from the inception of 108 service. We have been working by facing a lot of tough situations on field with a service motive. We request the GVK EMRI management and the government to look into our plight and solve our problems,” urged Mahender Reddy president of EMRI 108 ambulance staff association.
EMRI management is learnt to be planning alternative arrangements if the staff goe on strike.