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August 25, 2019

PIMS calls off strike


August 25, 2019

Islamabad : The All Employees PIMS Restoration Moment (AEPRM) withdrew its strike call, which was to take effect from August 26, after Saturday’s successful round of negotiations with Secretary Health Dr. Allah Bakhsh Malik, who dismissed all their apprehensions about the MTI Act being introduced against their wishes.

The matter stood resolved, at least temporarily, after Dr. Allah Baksh met representatives of AEPRM at PIMS on the directions of Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr. Zafar Mirza. The AEPRM had not only announced a two-hour token strike from Monday onwards but had also unanimously rejected the performance-based salary raise announced by the government a day earlier.

After successful talks with the Secretary, the spokesman of AEPRM Dr. Asfandyar Khan called off the strike. “We have developed a mutual understanding and agreement that no law would be introduced without holding consultations with us; that our consent will be sought on each and every component of the reforms package; that the status of PIMS and its employees will remain unchanged; and that PIMS will remain an attached department and in Schedule III in any new forms that are introduced,” he stated.

Dr. Asfandyar said, the Secretary has assured AEPRM that all 1,370 vacant posts will be filled and all pending cases of promotions of all cadres will be carried out in Sept 2019. He also thanked the PM and the SAPM for the unprecedented increase in the allowances of doctors working in Islamabad’s federal government hospitals. He added, “We stand assured today that the government will not resort to any measure that is perceived as an injustice by the medical fraternity.”

AEPRM also demanded that non-medical staff, as well as postgraduate trainees and house job doctors, also be given a raise in their salaries and stipends, and the Secretary promised to look into their demands as well. “The interests of the medical community will always be upheld. We will continue to introduce measures to enforce better working conditions and benefits for the medical community,” the Secretary concluded.

Interestingly, Dr. Zafar had already announced that the salaries of all cadres of health professionals would be increased block-by-block. He had also assured that a consultative process would tee off after development of the draft MTI Act within the next two weeks, and that any recommendations by stakeholders including representatives of AEPRM, would be incorporated into the draft before it is finalized for implementation. The Ministry of Health deserves credit for acting in time to appease AEPRM ahead of Monday’s strike, and thereby saving thousands of patients from unnecessary fatigue and inconvenience.

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