Employees of 108 ambulance service on Monday protested against service provider Ziqitza Health Care Limited (ZHL) at Amritsar’s Guru Nanak Dev Hospital for allegedly failing to fulfil promises made while offering them jobs and inducting other drivers in their place.
Ravi Nayyar, an emergency medical technician from Tarn Taran, claimed ZHL had assured to get employees vaccinated every year but failed to fulfil the promise.
“While employees are being paid for eight hours, they are made to work for 12 hours. Moreover, the ambulances are also not sterilized... We are forced to work as sweepers despite the provision of employing a sweeper in the ambulance,” he added while claiming that similar protests were held in other districts as well.
The police had to resort to mild lathicharge after protestors opposed ZHL’s move to hand over ambulances to other drivers. “The protest ended after assurances by ZHL. A meeting will be held tomorrow,” Nayyar said.
The ZHL, meanwhile, blamed employees who had been terminated earlier this year for the protest. “The noble cause is being disrupted by some people, who are axing their own grind out of vested interests. The same people terminated earlier this year by the disciplinary committee of Ambulance 108 are creating problems and misguiding other ambulance crew to disrupt the services. Keeping in view their protest, the company has deployed more staff to save patients from harassment,” a statement by the company said.
It added: “ZHL confirms that the company is in full compliance with the Motor Transport Workers Act-1961 and the minimum wages as notified in Punjab. It is also regularly paying the PF and ESI dues those eligible.”