108 ambulance workers call off stir

Bhubaneswar: The agitating 108 ambulance workers on Sunday withdrew their strike after discussions with service provider Ziqitza Health Service (ZHS) authorities here.

“They called us for discussion in the presence of the DCP. Following assurance by the Health minister to fulfil our demands and his request to keep the plight of the patients in mind, we decided to withdraw our strike,” Manoj Sahu, working secretary of 108 Ambulance Employees’ Association, told media persons after the meeting.

The state government on Saturday had enforced Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) on the agitating 108 ambulance workers as they went ahead with the protest despite the request of the government to call off their stir.

On Sunday, police had detained five employees in Ghasipura in Keonjhar district as they did not join work even after receiving calls from the family members of the patients. Besides, the locals of Mahakalapada area of Kendrapada district filed complaints against 13 ambulance employees as they did not respond to render emergency service.

Notably, the employees of the 108 ambulance service including drivers, helpers and medical technicians had been agitating since a long time demanding payment of minimum guaranteed wages, 15 per cent annual increment and construction of rest shades for the employees among others.

Besides, they had also alleged that they are forced to work for 12 hours against the provision of eight hours.