Patients and their relatives at SSKM Hospital had a tough time on Tuesday after a clash broke out among two groups of workers, following a government decision to replace a contractor’s cleaners with a new group under a new contractor. Many were injured in the melee.
RG Kar Hospital experienced similar problems, but the situation was brought under control.
Trouble started early at SSKM when both the new and old groups of cleaners reported for work. Amalendu Ghosh, organising secretary of the Trinamul Trade Union Congress who led the old set, said earlier, contractors were changed but workers remained. “About 192 people have worked in different wards for the past two years. Besides cleaning and washing, they also helped the nurses and doctors. For this, they underwent six months' training,” Ghosh said. The new group asserted that it, too, had undergone training.
During a quarrel, some workers attacked their opponents. Pinky Mondal, one of the new workers, said she was beaten up with iron rods. The situation was brought under control after deputy commissioner (south) Kuldip Singh arrived with a huge posse of police.
SSKM’s deputy superintendent Tushar Ghosh said both groups were asked to stay out. Work is being done by the government general duty attendants. But the workforce is not enough. Both groups will hold a sit-in till the government announces a final decision.