Pay cut announced for Doctors in Kerala amid COVID 19 outbreak: KGMOA writes to CM citing decision as cruel
Thiruvananthapuram: After the state government announced the decision to deduct one month's salary of state government employees, the Kerala Government Medical Officers Association (KGMOA) and the medical college teachers' association have asked the Chief Minister to exempt frontline workers from the cut.
As per the decision declared on April 22nd, the government will be deducting a six days' worth salary every month of all categories of government employees (teachers, university staff, workers of all public sector units). The deduction would continue until 5 months to meet the serious financial crisis the state has been facing due to coronavirus epidemic. All elected representatives -- Ministers, MLAs, different Boards under the Government and members of Local Self Government bodies would take a 30% cut in their monthly salary and honorariums for a year.
However, the deduction proposal is for those government employees whose salary is more than 20,000. CM Vijayan also informed that the deferred salary would be released when the state's financial situation gets better.
In a letter to the Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, the KGMOA objected to such harsh decision towards the doctors and health care workers who are at the forefront in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and asked the authority that the healthcare personnel should be exempted from the ambit of the salary cut announced by the state government.
The government's decision to defer payment of a portion of their salaries for the next five months was "cruel and Inhuman" and would affect their morale, the association state president Dr Joseph Chacko, KGMOA state president, said in the letter.
The association further highlighted the efforts the doctors have been putting to battle the virus outbreak.
Since the outbreak of the infection, the medical personnel have been putting in more hours, working with utmost dedication and honesty despite feeling stressed and tired in the discomforts of the Personal Protective Equipment, it said.
The deferment is likely to have an adverse impact on the morale of the medical officers, who are constantly fighting the pandemic risking their lives and that of their relatives, the Association said.
Pointing out that the order was in effect implementing a cut in the salaries of government employees without their consent, KGMOA said though it was described as deferment of salary, it does not give any specific proposal for the payment of the amount.
The GO (Government Order) also says that the deduction is not applicable for those who had contributed one month's salary to the Chief Minister's Disaster Relief Fund, reports PTI.
On this, the association alleged that a close analysis of the order showed that its intention is to compel the government employees to pay one month's salary to the government.
The courts have already declared that the employees cannot be compelled to give up their salary under compulsion, it maintained.
The KGMOA also pointed that the salary is the remuneration paid by the employer for the services rendered by the employee and the terms of the payment were fixed by the employer through the relevant pay revision orders. It is impossible to modify those terms unilaterally, it said.
Upset with the stance of the government, the associations stated:
"We, the organisation and our members still stick to the Oath of Hippocrates and do stand by the government and its machinery to fight the pandemic", but with a pained heart at the cut.
The central government has issued orders and directions to various state governments, including Kerala, to ensure that medical staff are not underpaid or deprived of their salaries and perks. Even in the case of private hospitals, the circular was made applicable.
The government is and should be a model employer, ready to protect the employees even from the vagaries of the economy, it said.Read Also: NO experimentation with alternate systems of medicine for coronavirus: Kerala High Court