The United Nurses Association (UNA), the largest union representing nurses in the private sector in Kerala called off their plan to launch an indefinite strike over wage revisions on Tuesday. This after the Kerala government on Monday night issued a notification regarding the pay hike of the nurses and other staff working in the private hospitals in the state.
The notification states that the minimum wage for nurses and lab technicians is Rs 20,000 and that for other staff including hospital attenders is Rs 16,000.
The pay revision has been implemented by dividing the hospitals into six categories based on bed strength. The nursing staff, based on the hospital bed strength, will get an additional allowance of between Rs 10,000 and Rs 20,000, as per the notification. The hospital staff, barring doctors, will also be eligible for annual increment, service weightage and DA.
Once the pay hike is implemented staff nurses will see a hike between 56% to 86 per%, Auxiliary Nurse Midwifery category will get a hike of 50% to 99% hike and those who are in the nurses manager category will get 68% to 102% hike. The general category staff will get a pay hike from 35% to 69% and lab technicians and pharmacists will get hike of 39% to 66%.
The last pay hike was implemented on January 1, 2013. Then, the hike implemented was between 20% to 30%. The pay revision is retrospective from October 1, 2017.
If the union had gone ahead with their boycott on Tuesday, the functioning of more than 450 private hospitals, with more than 50 bed strength, would have been affected.
The nurses affiliated to the United Nurses Association had begun a symbolic protest on April 17 blaming the government for delaying implementing the pay revision. They accused the government of trying to sabotage the Supreme Court directive on the issue, which set the minimum salary at Rs 20,000.
The agitation of UNA along with Indian Nurses Association had paralysed the health sector in July last year forcing the government to hold talks. Though a consensus had been reached at the time following talks, the state government had failed to issue a notification.