MUMBAI: The Mumbai civic body has neither paid salary nor special daily allowance to 209 newly-hired nurses, who were recruited to strengthened the fight against coronavirus in the metropolis, a labour union has said.
The Municipal Mazdoor Union (MMU) said the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) hired these nurses under a special recruitment drive in April-May after the coronavirus outbreak in the city.
However, the BMC has neither paid them salary nor Rs 300 per day special allowance promised to them, since the past three months, said MMU, one of the largest trade unions in the civic body which is spearheading Mumbai's COVID-19 fight.
When contacted, a BMC health department official said salary disbursal got delayed due to the ongoing roster (appointment) verification process, but assured the nurses will be paid their wages soon.
"I joined the BMC's duty in the first week of May. Since then I am working at a jumbo COVID-19 facility and staying in a hotel where the BMC has arranged food and accommodation, but I haven't received salary or Rs 300 per day special allowance," said one of the nurses, who did not wish to be identified.
She said prior to joining the BMC, she was working at a private hospital, and since the civic body had issued advertisements to appoint nurses on a permanent basis, she decided to switch job.
However, now she regrets the decision due to financial troubles she is facing.
"It's difficult to survive without salary for three months, especially when you have financial liabilities," she said.
In a letter written to municipal commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal on July 25, MMU demanded that these 209 newly- hired nurses be paid salary and allowances immediately.
The union also asked the civic administration to consider theirappointments on vacant posts at BMC-run hospitals from the date they joined duty.
Pradeep Narkar, secretary, MMU, said that all these nurses were trained at the BMC's nursing college and they were asked to join immediately in April-May when coronavirus cases had started rising sharply.
"Most of them were working in private hospitals and they quit their jobs to join the BMC which required their services urgently. But now they are deprived of salary and allowances, making survival difficult for them," he said.
Narkar said the BMC administration told the union that the delay in salary disbursal was due to the ongoing roster (appointment) verification process, which it has assured to fast-track.
Dr Varsha Puri, an official in the BMC Health department, said, "The file (related to salary) has been already sent to another department (personnel).
"Once the file is cleared, we will process it within a day and inform establishments (where nurses are to be posted) from where salary disbursal will start."
The first case of coronavirus was found in Mumbai on March 11 and currently, the city has nearly 1.10 lakh cases, while the death toll stood at over 6,000.