Coronavirus impact: Parsee General Hospital union at loggerheads with management

Updated: May 21, 2020, 07:29 IST | Arita Sarkar | Mumbai

COVID-19 staff claim they are not getting proper meals and have not got their April's salary yet

The union has threatened to go on strike if concerns are not addressed
The union has threatened to go on strike if concerns are not addressed

Since May 4, 15 employees – 14 ward boys and one from the pharmacy of the BD Petit Parsee General Hospital in South Mumbai who tested positive for COVID-19 – have accused the hospital management of mistreatment.

They claim they are not getting proper food and the union is threatening to go on strike if their concerns are not addressed.

Mumbai Mazdoor Union Secretary, Dhunji Naterwalla said initially they got regular meals, but for the past four days, they are getting only rice and dal. "These workers are putting their lives at risk. Why should the food given to them be different from the meal patients get?" he asked.

Since the lockdown, many staff members didn't report to work as they couldn't find transportation. Sharad Sawant, president of the Kamgar Samiti at Parsi General Hospital said a few weeks ago, the hospital threatened an inquiry against them if they didn't report to work after which staff reached the hospital and have been living there ever since.

"During the lockdown, many of us tried to reach the hospital but cops wouldn't allow us even after we showed our IDs," he said. Employees who weren't able to report to duty accused the management of unfairly deducting April's salary. A 44-year old ward boy who tested positive said, "While I am recovering and looking forward to getting discharged, they are telling me to work in the COVID-19 ward," he said.

Refuting the claims, Dr (Lieutenant-General Retired) Manomoy Ganguly, hospital CEO said salaries, as well as ex-gratia payments were given to all staff who worked in April.

"We have been feeding three times the number of workers and provided them with free housing on the hospital premises. We are going out of our way to look our employees and patients and doing the best we can in these trying times," said Dr Ganguly.

When asked about food, Dr Ganguly said, "We are giving them good food including organic vegetables from our kitchen garden, but they keep demanding more. Despite being part of the essential services, they have shown a lack of responsibility and less than half of them have been working for the last two months."

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