Tension prevailed at the premises of the state-run Gandhi hospital in Hyderabad on Saturday after more than 200 outsourced nursing staff sat on a flash strike, demanding that their jobs be regularised.
Around 20 nurses even climbed to the 8th floor of the main building in the morning, and threatened to jump, if their demands were not met.
The strike went throughout the day, with repeated attempts by authorities to negotiate, ending unsucessfully.
"This is the fourth time that the outsourced nursing staff of the hospital has gone on strike on the same issue since the formation of the new state. Yet, the government has done nothing to resolve the issue. It has only made empty assurances," M Narasimha, general secretary (Hyderabad) of the All India Trade Union Congress, the organisation that the outsourced nurses are affiliated to, told the Times of India.
The TOI report adds that, due to the strike, services at the hospital were severely hit, as 180 permanent nurses were burdened with managing the 1,200-bedded hospital.
The authorities roped in nursing students and junior doctors from the adjacent medical college to tackle the crisis.
The demand of the nurses reached a tipping point on Saturday, after protests that have been going on for nearly a year.
Besides regularisation of their employment which would give them a 'permanent' status, the nurses are also demanding that their salaries be increased from Rs 10,000 to Rs 15,000 per month.
Some of the nurses even claim that they have been working for more than 10 years, but are still treated as 'temporary' employees.
In July last year, the nurses sat at the entrance of the hospital, demanding that the labour department and health department of the state listen to their concerns.
In November, protests intensified, as the nurses also claimed that they were overworked and severely underpaid.
In the latest protest on Saturday, the nurses also alleged that State Health Minister Laxma Reddy and Principal Secretary Rajeshwar Tiwari had failed them, and were appointing fresh graduates over experienced outsourced employees, to a permanent post.
The police stepped late in the evening, to take the nurses into preventive custody.