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Strike threat, as more seek jobs

The Temporary Public Health Employee Network yesterday affirmed the threat to strike from January 1-3 to demand an upgrade for temporary ministry employees in more than 21 health professions to government employee status and improved benefits.



The move follows an agreement by the government to enlist most of 30,188 contract positions in 21 health professions in the civil service over a three-year period, in a bid to fend off a similar planned strike by 17,000 contract nurses who wanted permanent jobs and better benefits.

The network says its 100,000 members are unhappy because they were not included. Secretary Thanachai Sawaengsuk explained the five-point demand that they want the government to grant, or they will stop work for three days.

First, the Public Health Ministry should increase non-medical employees' welfare payment by amending Section 9 (4) of the regulations, which states that such employees are only paid wages.

Second, the Bt2,500-per-head monthly sum - "danger money" for non-medical employees in the restive far South, in effect in 2004 then cut in 2005 - should be continued and paid to workers retroactively, to boost their morale.

Third, payments for afternoon and night shifts should also be paid to non-medical employees.

Fourth, P4P - pay for performance, which will be allocated to civil servants - should also be paid to employees outside 21 health professions in an appropriate ratio.

Last, the ministry should consider upgrading non-medical employees with more than five years' service to government employees, according to the Thaksin Shinawatra Cabinet resolution on October 5, 2004.

Thanachai said the network would negotiate with Public Health Minister Pradit Sinthawanarong and permanent health secretary Narong Sahamethapat soon for solutions.


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