Government doctors in Tamil Nadu have threatened to go on an indefinite strike from October 25 if their demands for a pay hike are not met by the state government. The doctors are demanding pay parity with central government doctors.
Thousands of patients across the state could be affected if the doctors go on strike.
The October 24 deadline was set after the Federation of Government Doctors Associations held an emergency meeting at the Madras Medical College Hospital today. Only emergency services will be attended to if their demands are not met, the doctors' body said. The doctors said they will not perform elective surgeries will not be performed.
Demanding pay parity, the doctors argue that central government doctors earn Rs. 1.2 lakh a month on completion of 13 years of service. In Tamil Nadu, they say, it takes 20 years to touch that band and want the government to fix this anomaly.
"The government had accepted our demand two years ago and has not implemented it. Even recently, we had deferred our strike after the Health Minister sought six weeks' time ahead of his UK visit. Nothing has happened," Dr P Balakrishnan, state president of the Federation of Government Doctors Associations, told NDTV.
There are around 18,000 doctors on government rolls in Tamil Nadu and around 3,000 of them, sources say, will benefit immediately if the state government revises the pay band.
The health professionals are aware that they come under the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) and that the state government could take drastic action including sacking them.
The state government has not made any announcement on this possible crisis yet.