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July 19, 2019

PMDC employees go on strike after suspension of health allowance


July 19, 2019

Islamabad: All employees of Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) went on strike and staged a sit-in in front of PMDC building here on Thursday as a protest against withdrawal of health allowance from their salaries which was equal to the basic salary of each employee.

The PMDC after a meeting on Wednesday decided to withdraw the health allowance of employees which they were getting since 2012. Well over 200 employees of PMDC would be affected by the decision, the council has taken without any consultation from health ministry or law division, said a senior official at PMDC while talking to ‘The News’ on Thursday.

Pleading anonymity, he said we have been informed that the decision of withdrawal of health allowance has been taken due to an audit para. If this is the case, the PMDC should not withdraw the allowance instead it should suspend it temporarily, he said.

According to PMDC President Professor Dr. Tariq Iqbal Bhutta, the PMDC withdrew the health allowance of its employees after an objection from Accountant General of Pakistan Revenue. There is a great unrest among PMDC employees as they have been informed that not only the health allowance is being abolished but also they would have to pay the amount they had taken through the allowance since 2012 as recovery, said another senior official at the PMDC pleading anonymity.

The official said if the PMDC employees were getting allowance illegally, it would have been decided or investigated in 2012 and not after eight years. President PMDC Dr. Bhutta when contacted by ‘The News’ on Thursday, said the AGPR questioned the PMDC that why it has been giving health allowance to its employees and we had to take care of the AGPR objection and suspend the allowance for the time being.

Terming the cut in salary a real concern for PMDC employees, he said the suspension would cause a reduction of 30 per cent in salary of each PMDC employee. We have decided for an audit from an external auditor and for that matter, we are hiring a leading audit firm that would check legality of the allowance in a week or so, he said.

He added that he has also constituted a committee comprising officers and workers of PMDC directing it to prepare a working paper along with recommendations and justifications for payment of health allowance to the PMDC employees by July 22.

Dr. Bhutta said he has asked the PMDC employees that his office would send the committee’s working paper to the finance, law and health ministries and if they would term the health allowance legal for the employees, the PMDC would continue to provide it to the employees. The employees called off the strike after negotiations with the PMDC president.

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