New Delhi police arrested several hospital resident doctors protesting outside the Maulana Azad Medical College on December 27. The Federation of Resident Doctors Association (FORDA) condemned the police action and threatened that all healthcare institutions would be completely shut down from that day.
The protest was a part of the ongoing national indefinite strike that began on December 21 to oppose suspension of postgraduate medical admissions, which is causing extra workloads. Resident doctors from several states across India walked out on December 6 over the issue.
This year’s NEET-PG 2021 postgraduate entrance exam, which usually occurs in January, was postponed until September because of rising COVID-19 cases. Adding to the delay, postgraduate medical admissions have been stayed by the Supreme Court, which has postponed hearing petitions filed by students questioning the validity of resident seat allocation until January 6.
The striking doctors said they will not return to work until they receive a written assurance from the government that the issue is being resolved.
Tamil Nadu overhead tank operators and conservancy workers demand permanency
Hundreds of overhead tank (OHT) operators and conservancy workers employed in rural areas across Tamil Nadu demonstrated on December 21 to demand higher wages and permanent jobs. Cleanliness protectors and conservancy workers in villages said they were being exploited and paid a meagre 3,600-rupee ($48) monthly salary with no holidays or leave.
They demanded correction of a government order issued by the previous state government in February. While the government claimed the order increased all salaries, it set them at only 4,000 rupees per month and effectively cut the salary of OHT operators who earn up to 5,000 rupees a month.
OHT operators have been working on a part-time basis or on consolidated pay for several years. They allege that no proper employment records have been maintained which means they could be terminated anytime.
Punjab university teachers continue strike action
Strike action by teachers from the Guru Nanak Dev University and affiliated colleges across Punjab state has entered its fourth week.
Guru Nanak Dev University Teachers’ Association members, along with members of the district unit of Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers’ Union want the University Grants Commission (UGC) pay scale revised in line with the Seventh Pay Commission. They are also demanding the government reverse its decision to delink teachers’ pay grades from the UGC pay scale.
Veterinary care workers from the Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University hospitals in Ludhiana, Punjab state began an indefinite strike on December 1 over the same issues.
Haryana childcare workers demand higher wages
Anganwadi (childcare) workers demonstrated and blocked traffic on the Chandigarh-Kharar highway in Chandigarh, Haryana state on December 21 over the late payment of salaries and for a wage increase. Traffic was blocked, causing long queues of vehicles stretching almost 4 kilometres.