Over 90,000 ASHA Workers Begin Indefinite Strike in Bihar

ABOUT 1 lakh ASHA workers of Bihar started their statewide joint indefinite strike on 1 December 2018. From the morning of December 1, Primary Health Centres at all places in Bihar came to a standstill, including Rohtas, Bhabhua, Naubatpur, Bihata, Motihari, Muzaffarpur, Nawada, Darbhanga, Madhubani, Samastipur, Munger, Bhagalpur. Other than emergency services, all work has come to a stop. In a statement released on 1 December, Bihar State ASHA Workers Association (Gope group- AICCTU) President and Joint Campaign Committee leader Shashi Yadav said that the strike has got off to a resounding start and almost all ASHA workers are participating directly and actively. From Monday the participation is expected to strengthen even further.

Shashi Yadav said that this statewide indefinite strike has been called by the ASHA Sanyukt Sangharsh Manch for a 12-point charter of demands including: government employee status for ASHA workers; Rs 18,000 monthly honorarium; 50% reservation in Nursing Schools for eligible ASHA workers; after training, ASHA workers to be given exemption in age limit and appointed as ANMs; 50% BCM (Block Community Coordinators) posts for eligible ASHA facilitators; ASHA workers should get benefit of all high level committee recommendations including work terms and conditions and honorarium; ESI, EPF and social security for all ASHA workers.

She announced that the 5 December vaccination drive would be blocked completely; ASHA workers would neither do the vaccination work nor allow anyone else to do it. She said that 3 ASHA associations have jointly called this strike, with the slogan ‘Patna and Delhi, open your ears and listen, ASHA workers must be paid monthly honorarium’. She announced that the PHC will be gheraoed from 1 to 8 December and civil surgeons across the State will be gheraoed on 10 December. If the government still does not listen to the ASHA demands, the Chief Minister will be gheraoed on 13-14 December in Patna. She appealed to all organizations and political parties to extend support to the justified demands of the ASHA workers.