Postgraduate, intern doctors call off strike after health minister’s assurances

The health minister says the demand for a rise in doctors’ allowances is ‘logical’ and he ‘agrees’ with the demands

Published : 28 March 2024, 12:16 PM
Updated : 28 March 2024, 12:16 PM

Postgraduate trainees and intern doctors have temporarily called off their strike following assurances from Health Minister Samanta Lal Sen that their wage demands would be met.

The industrial action has been suspended for a month for now. It will be resumed again if the demands are not met, said Jabir Hossain, president of the Postgraduate Private Trainee Doctors Association, after a meeting with the health minister at the Sheikh Hasina National Institute of Burn and Plastic Surgery on Thursday.

“Sir (the health minister) has assured us that resident, non-resident and FCPS trainees will get their back pay. In addition to that, the authorities will provide specific information about an increase in our wages. Sir also assured us about a rise in allowance.”

Sen said the demand for a rise in doctors’ allowances is ‘logical’ and he ‘agrees’ with the demands.

“It will be difficult for them to live if the wage is not increased in the context of current market conditions. I agreed with their demands from the beginning of the protest as they are the driving force of the hospitals.”

“I spoke to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina over the issue. She was kind and said she would work to meet the demands, urging doctors to return to work.”

The physicians have been demonstrating for a long time demanding for a raise the allowance of postgraduate trainees to Tk 50,000. The amount was raised to Tk 25,000 from Tk 20,000 last year, but the physicians were not satisfied with the increase.

The monthly wage of intern doctors is Tk 15,000 and they are demanding it be increased to Tk 30,000.

The postgraduate trainees and intern doctors launched the strike at different hospitals across the country on Saturday demanding that the authorities raise their salaries and clear back pay.

After their demonstration in Dhaka, Health Minister Sen said the government would look into their demands in a meeting on Sunday.

However, the health minister failed to specify a date for the settlement of the issues they raised following Sunday's meeting, forcing the striking doctors to call for action.

Public and autonomous hospitals have around 8,000 postgraduate trainees and 4,000 interns.

In addition to raises, the protesters also demanded that the due bills of FCPS, as well as resident and non-resident doctors, be cleared.

According to the protesters, trainee doctors have been deprived of their allowances for the last nine months.

The trainee doctors also demanded that allowances for resident and non-resident doctors in 12 private institutes under Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University be reintroduced and the Doctors Protection Act be implemented after it is passed in parliament.