Around one lakh nurses in Kerala, who had declared an indefinite strike to begin from Monday, have now decided to pause their protest for fair pay. On Saturday, the decision was taken in Thrissur at a meeting of the United Nurses Association, the largest organisation of nurses in the state.
The decision was subsequent to the invitation by the Chief Minister officeâ€™s for a discussion with the organisation. UNA has decided to postpone the strike and to take further action after discussion with the Chief Minister on July 19.
"We have taken the decision to postpone the strike. The Chief Minister has invited us for discussions. Future decisions will be taken after the discussion," UNA Thiruvananthapuram district president Siby Mukesh told The News Minute.
The High Court, on Friday, had asked for Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) to be invoked on the striking nurses, observing that the nurses were playing with the lives of human beings. The HC direction came after a petition was filed by private hospital managements.
The protest of the nurses working in private hospitals across the state began in June under UNA and The Indian Nurses Association. Although the protest by a section of nurses has been ongoing in various forms and in various districts, it hasnâ€™t affected the functioning of the hospitals as the majority of the nurses turned up for work.
On July 10, the governmentâ€™s Industrial Relations Committee had decided to revise the wage for nurses. But the pay revision had not hiked the basic pay of nurses working in all hospitals to Rs 20,000 which was the major demand raised by the nurses.
On July 11, thousands of nurses under the UNA took out a massive march to the Secretariat. On the same day, UNA had announced an indefinite strike from July 17. On July 13 private hospital managements in Thiruvananthapuram came out with a statement that the services in hospitals will be limited from July 17.