Chennai: A total of 18,600 Tamilnadu government doctors began a strike today, pressing for various demands, including better pay.
According to the associations that are striking work today, Tamilnadu doctors take home the least salary among all other States in the country. No salary revision has been done for the past 10 years, they charge.
Following the protest staged by 18,000 doctors from the State in September, a working committee was formed to probe the demands put forth by the Joint Action Committee of Government Doctors Associations (JACGDA).
However, the government has not agreed to grant the government servants pay on a par with Central government doctors. Agitated by the decision, the association has decided to observe the strike 4 December and also become non-cooperative.
Speaking to News Today a few days back, JACGDA president, Dr K Senthil, said, “The issue of pay disparity has been plaguing the doctors of Tamilnadu for the past five decades and many of us have unanimously expressed our displeasure several times with respect to it in the last three years.”
It is learnt that there is a difference of about Rs 30,000 when compared to Central government doctors.
“The working group had suggested that the welfare association temporarily halt all forms of turmoil and turbulence. After submitting all the required documents to the committee, the members submitted a letter detailing the need to bring uniform salary to government doctors working in Tamilnadu. However, the government dismissed it, fearing the move would create unrest among other category employees. It was informed to us that the orders of the same pay commission would be followed,” he explained.
In addition to pay parity, the doctors seek allowance and time-bound promotion. Explaining, Dr Senthil stated: “As per norms, promotion is given every 15, 17 and 20 years, which we feel is unfair as other States promote employees once they complete four, 9 and 13 years of service.”
“Considering our concerns, the committee had suggested that the government lessen the number of years of service to promote a doctor,” he added.
In addition, he stated that Tamilnadu is one of the few States that provides poor salary to government doctors, including primary health care employees.