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India ambulance workers’ strike intensifies amidst wage and labour disputes


India ambulance workers’ strike intensifies amidst wage and labour disputes

Nearly six thousand ambulance workers employed by outsourcing company PDPL, contracted to the State Health Society, Government of Bihar in India, are striking over precarious working conditions and the implementation of the 2023 collective agreement.

The workers report multiple grievances including not receiving salary for four months since March, long 12-hour work shifts, and no provision for social security benefits or other essential facilities.

The ambulance workers in Bihar had earlier submitted a memorandum outlining their demands in line with the collective agreement secured on 24 July 2023. The agreement would have ensured at least minimum wage rates are paid alongside the Employees’ State Insurance (ESI) and Provident Fund (PF) contributions.

However, an apathetic response from the authorities has left workers with no choice but to initiate industrial action. Workers in eight out of 38 districts have already begun strikes due to the government’s and management’s lack of dialogue.

UNI Global Union affiliate, BRCKS, is at the forefront of the ambulance workers’ strike in Bihar. Mr. Chandra Prakash Singh, President of BRCKS, said gravely:

“If the government does not intervene soon, a state-wide strike across all 38 districts could occur, for which the state government and PDPL will be held responsible.”

UNI Asia & Pacific Regional Secretary Rajendra Acharya expressed serious concern over the current situation. He said,

“We strongly support our affiliate, the BRCKS, and the ambulance workers’ determination to secure fair wages, working conditions, and the full implementation of the collective agreement. We urge the state government to step up to the dialogue table and achieve a satisfactory resolution to avert a state-wide strike.”