Managements of five private hospitals in the district bracing for the strike call by Indian Nurses' Association (INA) from October 22 have accused the association of singling out the private hospitals and exempting co-operative hospitals from the strike.

The INA has decided to go on strike at the Dhanalakshmi Hospital, Koyili Hospital, Ashirvad Hospital and Speciality Hospital at Kannur and Lourde Hospital at Taliparamba demanding revision of their pay scale as recommended in the Balram committee report, three-shift duty schedule equivalent to that in government hospitals and 10 per cent annual increment for senior nurses.

The managements of the five hospitals in their formal responses to the strike call urged the INA to withdraw the strike call. They said the INA had exempted the co-operative hospitals in the district despite the fact that their members are working in those hospitals as well.

The proposed strike is only to harass the private hospitals managed by members of the Qualified Private Medical Practitioners' Association (QPMPA), according to QPMPA representatives.

The managements said that they were not in a position to implement the report submitted by the Balram committee which was not accepted by the State government. They said that they were paying salary to the employees as per the minimum wages notified by the State government.

The managements also informed the INA units that the demand for 10 per cent increase on monthly salary every year could not be considered.

They said that the State government has constituted the Industrial Relations Committee (IRC) under the chairmanship of the State Labour Commissioner with equal representation of employers and employees. The INA being one of the representatives in the IRC, it could raise the demands in the charter of demands submitted before the IRC, the hospital managements told the INA units.

Noting that the IRC had been constituted with the objective of framing uniform terms and conditions of service of staff nurses working in various hospitals in the State, Dr. Joseph Benaven of Lourde Hospital and past district president of QPMPA said that there was no justification on the part of the INA to raise the charter of demands before individual hospitals. Terming the proposed strike as illegal and unjustifiable, he said that the managements wanted the INA to raise their demands before the IRC to maintain peace and harmony in the hospitals.

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