Power, water supply cut off to one hostel as stir intensifies

It was a day of drama for the nurses of corporate hospitals who are demanding higher salary and better work benefits.

Ever since the nurses announced their decision to go on strike, there has been subtle pressure on them from the management to give up their demand, the nurses say. At one hostel for women nurses in Kottivakkam power and water supply was cut for two days, according to the agitating nurses.

A few nurses called The Hindu on Sunday and said that they had been told to vacate the hostel immediately. Following harassment from the hostel authorities and the warden, the nurses approached the All India Democratic Women's Association. On Sunday, representatives of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and AIDWA held discussions with the hostel authorities and the nurses, after which power and water supply were restored.

Most of the nurses working in the major corporate hospitals in city are migrants. A majority of them are from the neighbouring state of Kerala. In Fortis Malar, 110 of the 180 nurses and half of the around 800 nurses in Apollo Hospitals are from Kerala.

Meanwhile, it is reliably learnt that another round of discussion is proposed to be held with the managements of the hospital, representatives of the nurses and the Additional Commissioner of Labour to sort out the issue. The agitating nurses have asked for a substantial hike in salary and discontinuing the practice of executing bonds for a period of two years among other things.

Nurses began their agitation on Thursday by staging a sit-in at Madras Medical Mission in Mogappair.

On Friday, nurses from the intensive medical care unit lent their support and on Saturday, nurses from Fortis Malar also joined the agitation by staging a sit-in at their hospital in Adyar. With nurses uniting under the banner of the All India Private Nurses' Association, managements of six major hospitals including Apollo, Fortis Malar, MIOT, Madras Medical Mission, Global and Billroth Hospitals issued a joint statement on Saturday calling for discussions on raising their salary. The statement further clarified that besides salary, the nurses received free boarding and lodging and training.

Keywords: nurses strike

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