The ongoing strike by over 1500 staffers associated with the Centralized Ambulance Trauma Services (CATS) has intensified as staffers, including ambulance drivers and Para Medical Staff, have refused to join duty.
CATS’ strike will now be supported by the National Health Alliance and the union of Delhi Transport Corporation. It has been 7 days since CATS staffers have been on strike near Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's residence.
The CATS staffers have vowed that they will not return to duty unless their demands, including payment of pending salary and not being employed under GVK-AMRI, a private agency, are met.
Non-plying of ambulances in Delhi has majorly affected healthcare as only a few ambulances are available for carrying critically injured or ill patients.
“We demand an end to the contractual system. We want to be governed by the government and not by a contractual company. Our demand is immediate release of salary pending for three months. Only then will we end our strike. Otherwise, we will continue the strike,” said Sanjay Shokeen, Treasurer, CATS Ambulance Union.
“Earlier, CATS employees were working under BVG, a private agency. But from July 1, 2019, a new company named GVK-AMRI wants us to sign on papers saying that we have no objection to work with them. This will thwart us from getting regularized with the Delhi government. A case related to regularization has been pending in the court,” added Shokeen.
Shokeen said that the main issue is that CATS employees don’t want to work under any private agency because the agency behaves arbitrarily. There are only 8 ambulances which are plying in Delhi to transport patients. Permanent employees are operating these ambulances.
With shortage of ambulances, patients are opting for private vehicles and e-rickshaws to reach hospitals.