The nursing staff at Sree Gokulam Medical College and Research Foundation at Venjaramood, near here, have launched an indefinite strike demanding better wages.

As many as 278 out of the 300 nursing staff at the hospital took part in the dharna and agitation on Saturday, a spokesperson of All India Private Nurses' Association said.

He said the hospital management was yet to implement the minimum wages agreement.

“We have been demanding the implementation of minimum wages since November last, to no avail. The nurses are being paid a salary ranging from Rs.3,500 to Rs.6,200 and there are even some who are forced to work without pay. Some of the nurses work 16 hours on the night shift,” he said.

He alleged that the hospital management was using goons to threaten the nurses on strike and that the association had to intervene after some of the nurses who took part in the strike were refused entry to the nurses' hostel.

Talks fail

Even though the District Labour Officer had held a round of talks with the management and the striking nurses on Saturday afternoon, both sides refused to budge.

The agitating nurses have decided to go on a hunger strike in front of the hospital from Sunday.