NEPAL - Nepali doctors working at Pokhara-based Manipal Teaching Hospital launched an indefinite agitation stopping their work in protest against what they called discrimination in salary and services.
The strike affected services the hospital has been rendering and closed classes at the hospital campus.
The agitating doctors organising a press conference informed media persons that resorting to strike was their only option, as the hospital management continued to overlook the demand for equal pay and services, which they have been pressing since four years.
They maintained that there is a threefold difference in the salary between Nepali and Indian doctors working at the hospital. The hospital management has maintained a discriminatory approach in hiring and while offering services like residence and transportation to the doctors, said the despondent doctors.
"The management side threatened to shut the hospital down closing the negotiation door, and we were compelled to go on strike," said Dr Dipak Prasad Koirala.
ENT specialist at the hospital, Dr Krishna Koirala, said Nepali doctors are getting more work done compared to the Indian doctors. "Yet the management is providing better salary and services to our Indian colleagues."
Figures provided by the protesting doctors showed two Nepali doctors at the hospital's orthopedic department conducted 40 per cent of the total operations in 2010, while five Indian doctors attended the remaining 60 per cent of the surgical works that year.
By July 2011, two Nepali doctors had attended to 72.4 per cent of the cases, whereas three Indian doctors had attended to only 27.6 per cent cases. There are 36 Nepali and 33 Indian doctors at the hospital.
The hospital management, meanwhile, dismissed the claim about pay discrimination to the doctors.
"The two years of tax waiver provided to the Indian doctors has caused the difference in the salary," said HR Manager Virendar Yadav. "It's a minor administrative problem and it will be resolved through talks, where the representatives from the Nepal Medical Council will also be present."