Though the government had declared minimum wages last year, most nurses in the State are yet to avail of its benefits, according to the United Nurses’ Association, which was involved in the process of wage revision along with the government.

Its representatives allege that only 20 per cent of hospitals have implemented the revised wages.

The government had brought out a chart categorising hospitals depending on number of beds.

The association says that hospitals now declare fewer beds, to bring down their category, and thus pay lower salaries. Many large hospitals, which come under the highest category, have now demoted themselves to the fourth or fifth category. There are six categories — from a minimum of 1 to 20 beds to the highest bed strength of above 800.

Jasmin Sha, president of United Nurses’ Association, says that the Industrial Relations Committee (IRC) that had spearheaded the meetings on wage revision never met on this issue again.

Minister’s response

However, Labour Minister Shibu Baby John says that inspections held in 500 hospitals across the State showed non-compliance by only 75 hospitals. The government has taken action against these hospitals. Labour departments in all districts have been providing inputs on compliance on nurses’ minimum wages, says Mr. John, adding that expectations of 100 per cent compliance are unrealistic. All those who had agreed to the wages have to implement them, says Mr. John.

Earlier case

Mr. Shah says in the present scenario, promises by various hospitals of providing employment to 46 Iraq-returned nurses sound hollow. Such promises were also made to 280 nurses who returned from Libya. No jobs were given, he says.

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