750 of the 800-odd nurses join the strike

Nurses at Lakeshore Hospital under the United Nurses Association intensified their stir on Tuesday with about 750 of the 800-odd nurses at the hospital joining the strike, claimed the president of the Association, Jasmin Sha.

Mr. Sha said that the Labour department's report giving a clean chit to the management of Lakeshore was not correct.

The minimum wages are applicable only for new appointments, he said. However, a nurse with 16 years of experience at Lakeshore is drawing only Rs. 7,000, he said. There are 18 nurses who are given a mere Rs. 1,000 with no food and accommodation, Mr. Sha said. Most others are paid in the range between Rs. 4,000 and Rs. 6,000, he said.

The managing director of Lakeshore Hospital Philip Augustine said that the functioning of the hospital had not been disrupted by the strike that started on Monday. Doctors and other staff are cooperating, he said.

The hospital recruited 50 new hands on Tuesday from its standing list of personnel, who had been interviewed in the past.

This will ensure the smooth functioning of the services, he said.

He said that the hospital authority had not served termination notice on 50 probationers. “We will wait another day to see if they come back,” Dr. Augustine told The Hindu.

The hospital management had approached the court to get the strike by nurses at the hospital declared as illegal after the Labour Commissioner issued a statement that the strike was illegal. Besides, he said, the organisation that called the strike was a registered charitable organisation. The Labour Minister Shibu Baby John too had expressed his view that the strike at the hospital was illegal, Dr. Augustine added.

At a press meet held by the United Nurses Association, Mr. Sha said that student nurses from nearby hospitals are being sent to Lakeshore. A nurse working in a nearby hospital told The Hindu that he was offered Rs. 750 a day to work at Lakeshore.

Mr. Sha criticised the statement of Indian Medical Association to bring nursing services under ESMA as it was only supporting the doctors, many of whom were part of hospital managements.

Meanwhile the striking nurses at Kolenchery Medical College Hospital continued their stir into the fourth day. Reena Reji, president of the unit of All India Nurses Welfare Association said that the management has not yet called for any talks on their demand for wage hike.

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