Demanding minimum wages and benefits of employment for nurses, activists of the Kerala Mahila Sangham held a sit-in at the High Court junction on Monday. A statement issued by the Sangham said that hospitals under private management are not implementing the State's law for minimum wages for nurses and other workers in the hospital.
They are exploited by the super-speciality hospitals by making them work for long hours at low wages, the statement said. Nurses demanding their rights in these hospitals are assaulted and are booked under crime using the police, the statement said.
The protests were led by the Sangham State president Meenakshi Thampan.
Kanam Rajendran, State secretary of the AITUC, inaugurated the sit-in.
Kamala Sadanandan, general secretary and Indira Raveendran, working president of the Mahila Sangham along with other CPI leaders spoke on the occasion.
Strike at hospital
Nurses at the Little Flower Hospital at Angamaly went on strike on Monday demanding to reinstate the four nurses who were ousted from service at the hospital because of participating in trade union activities.
According to the representatives of the United Nurses Association, four nurses (two males and two females) were asked to leave the hospital service because of their grouping with the Association, against which the organisation had given a three-day notice to the hospital.
Earlier, the Association had given a notice on December 28 regarding strike on January 10 demanding proper wages.
Against this, the hospital authorities had called a meeting in the presence of the Deputy Labour Commissioner from December 31 onwards.
A meeting to evolve a compromise was also scheduled for Monday afternoon, according to a press statement by the hospital. However, 74 trainee nurses have joined the ‘illegal' strike for which they had issued no notice, the statement said. Abetted by forces outside the hospital, the strike is being seen by the hospital authorities as a step that would put the patients' care in trouble and discredit the hospital.
The representatives of the nurses' association, however, said that the hospital authorities had not agreed to any of the demands taken up by them. Nearly 350 nurses from the hospital had joined the strike that was supported by a number of trade unions, said the association representative.
The nurses also held a candle-light march in the evening demanding proper wages and employment benefits.