HC restrains TN ambulance workers from going on strike, warns

Chennai: The Madras High Court today warned the ambulance workers union in Tamil Nadu of contempt action if it goes ahead with a proposed 24-hour strike from November 17 evening.

Madras High Court Chief Justice Indira Banerjee
Madras High Court Chief Justice Indira Banerjee

Passing interim orders restraining the ‘108’ Ambulance Workers Union and its members from taking recourse to strike, the first bench comprising Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice M Sundar said no member of the union shall stay away from duty.

The petitioner S Patrick, an advocate, said as per information obtained by him under the RTI Act, the union proposed to go on a 24-hour stir from 8 pm on October 17 to 8 pm on October 18.

The union has announced an indefinite stir thereafter if their demands were not considered by the State Head Officer, 108, Ambulance Service, Government Kasturiba Gandhi Hospital Complex, Triplicane, the petitioner claimed.

“Any member refraining to drive ambulance and perform duty in case of emergency either on October 17 or 18, they will do so at their own risk of consequences thereof including penalizing for gross contempt of court,” the bench said.

The bench also orally observed, “If they go on strike, terminate them.”

Citing the stay orders on such protests by the court in the past, the petitioner urged the court to declare the strike illegal.

The petitioner also sought an interim direction restraining the union from going ahead with its proposed strike.

He submitted that due to Diwali festival, there will be injuries arising out of fireworks besides motor accidents.

Every day 90,000 calls are being received by ambulance services of which 7,000 are emergency calls, the petitioner said, adding employees of ambulance services cannot take the common man for a ride and use the festival time to put them in difficulty.