Around 200 nurses, all working in various government hospitals in Thiruvananthapuram, have come out in solidarity with nurses of private hospitals in the state, who have been protesting for better wages.
The nurses, affiliated to the Kerala Government Nurses Association, took out a march to the Secretariat, the state administrative headquarters. Forming a human chain in front of the Secretariat, they raised slogans in support of the nurses. The United Nursesâ€™ Association and the Indian Nurses' Association have been protesting from June 18, demanding minimum wages.
â€śWe view it as a protest for the entire nursesâ€™ community. There should be a proportionate hike in salary for nurses working in private hospitals,â€ť said Hameed SS, Thiruvananthapuram District Secretary of the Association.
He said that the KGNA had supported nurses in private hospitals when they protested in 2013. â€śAt that time, the basic pay of nurses working in government hospitals was Rs 13,900 and that of our counterparts in private hospitals was Rs 5,000. We had then urged the government to hike their basic pay to Rs 12,000. But the protest and subsequent discussions with the government helped in increasing the basic pay to Rs 7000 only,â€ť Hameed added.
Nurses working in various government hospitals in Thiruvananthapuram, including the Medical College, the Womenâ€™s and Childrenâ€™s Hospital, Thycaud, the General Hospital and Peroorkada hospital took part in the solidarity march and the human chain. The KGNA also submitted a memorandum to the government in support of private hospital nurses.
Meanwhile, the discussion held by Labour Minister TP Ramakrishnan with representatives of UNA, INA and private hospitals on Tuesday evening failed to reach any consensus. According to reports, the hospital managements have refused to approve the demand to raise the basic pay to Rs 20,000. A meeting of the Industrial Relations Committee will be held on Monday to take a final decision on the issue. The representatives of both the Associations told the media that they will not resort to a protest that will impact the functioning of the hospitals, but will continue the non-cooperation protest.
The UNA has been on an indefinite strike in Thiruvananthapuram, Thrissur, Ernakulam, Malappuram and Kozhikode. The INA has been on a hunger strike in Kannur.
As many as one lakh nurses working in various private hospitals in the state, affiliated to the two associations, have been taking part in the strike. They say they have been forced to go on strike as 90% of hospitals have not followed the agreement reached by the government with private hospital managements in 2013, following the protests organised then.
Pics: Sreekesh Raveendran Nair