Two days before International Nurses Day, 85 nurses were suspended for alleged dereliction of duty by a private hospital in the city.

According to a nurse who spoke to The Hindu on condition of anonymity, the suspended nurses have been given 24 hours' notice. The other nurses of the HCG Bangalore Institute of Oncology Speciality Centre plan to go on strike on Friday. “But we will ensure that hospital services are not affected in any way,” he said.

Some 10 days back, a group of nurses had sought a salary hike and better working conditions. “A group of us met the management on Thursday [but they] shot down our demands and stated that we were free to resign if we did not agree with them.” He said the nurses were paid just Rs. 6,500 a month. “After deductions, we get just Rs. 4,500 in hand. We have demanded that our salaries match that of nurses in other private hospitals in the city.”

Hospital director Dinesh Madhavan denied any strike by nurses, but said around 80 of them did not turn up for work and disciplinary action had been initiated against them. “They have put the lives of patients at risk,” he said. He said the hospital provides good working conditions to all its 2,000 staff. Salaries were also on a par with other hospitals. “The nurses are free to look for better opportunities. We cannot increase their salaries, as the patients will eventually have to bear the brunt,” Mr. Madhavan said.

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