Thiruvananthapuram, Apr 26 (PTI): Doctors and health care workers who are in the forefront in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic should be exempted from the ambit of the salary cut announced by the state government,the Kerala Medical Officers Association said here on Sunday.
The government's decision to defer payment of a portion of their salaries for the next five months was 'cruel and Inhuman' and would affect their morale, the association state president Dr Joseph Chacko said in a letter to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
The government had on April 22 decidedto deduct the salaries of all state government employees for six days every month for the next five monthsto meet the serious financial crisis it was facing due to COVID-19.
All elected representatives -- Ministers, MLAs,different Boards under the Government and members of Local Self Government bodies would take a 30 per cent cut in their monthly salary and honorariums for a year.
The defermentis likely to have an adverse impact on the moraleof the medical officers, who are constantly fighting the pandemic risking theirlives and that of their relatives,the Association said.
Since the outbreak of the infection, the medical personnel have been putting in more hours, working with utmost dedication and honesty despite feeling stressed and tired in the discomforts of the Personal Protective Equipment, it said.
Pointing out that the order was in effect implementing a cut in the salaries of government employees without their consent, KGMOA said though it was described as deferment of salary,it does not giveany specific proposal for the payment of the amount.
The G.O also says that the deduction is not applicable for those who had contributedone month's salaryto the Chief Minister's Disaster Relief Fund.
The association said that a close analysis of the order showed that it's intentionis to compel the government employees to pay one month's salaryto the government.
The courts have already declared that the employees cannot be compelled to give up their salary under compulsion, it said.
TheKGMOA also pointed that the salary is the remunerationpaid by the employer for the services rendered by the employee and the terms of the payment were fixed by the employer through the relevant pay revision orders.
It is impossible to modify those terms unilaterally, it said.
'We, the organisation and our members still stick to the Oath of Hippocrates and do stand by the government and its machinery to fight the pandemic', but with a pained heart at the cut.
The central government has issued orders and directions to various state governments, including Kerala, to ensure that medical staff are not underpaid or deprived of their salaries and perks.
Evenin the case of private hospitals,the circular was made applicable.
The government is and should be model employer, ready to protect the employees even from the vagries of the economy,it said.
Pro opposition teachers organsiationshave also come out against the government decision on the pay cut. PTI UDAPR RAVINDRANATH RAVINDRANATH