The faculty of government medical colleges in the State will observe “betrayal day” on March 3, to protest against the State government’s denial of pay arrears in full to medical college teachers.
In a statement here on Saturday, the Kerala Government Medical College Teachers’ Association said the government, which had got the faculty to withdraw their strike demanding pay arrears by promising to pay the arrears in full, had blatantly gone back on their word.
The new order in this regard, issued by the government just before the election code of conduct came into force, gives doctors just a nominal amount as pay arrears. By offering this, the government had in fact humiliated the entire medical college doctor fraternity, who had worked hard all through the pandemic year, winning accolades for the State’s COVID-19 containment measures, the association said.
The government had denied the faculty their rightful dues, when it appeased all other sections of government servants, offering them pay hikes, the KGMCTA said.
The KGMCTA pointed out that setting aside a fraction of the crores that the government had been lavishing on running promotional campaigns of its achievements in visual and print media in the past few days would have been sufficient to settle the pay arrears of doctors.
The doctors had started a “perseverance strike” from January last week, boycotting academic activities while ensuring that patient services in hospitals were not affected. It was after the doctors declared their intention to go into indefinite strike, paralysing all hospital services, that the Health Minister even offered to hold talks with doctors.
The KGMCTA said that it had agreed to defer their indefinite strike by two weeks as requested by the Health Minister, fully believing that their demands were being considered favourably. The faculty was ready to begin their strike anew at the end of two weeks when the government again offered to hold discussions.
However, the government had clearly gone back on its word, as was evident from the order issued on February 26, which states that the arrears on account of pay revision would be paid only in instalments from 2023, while the arrears of allowances would be paid only with effect from July 2019.