As the Vijaya Hospital nurses' strike entered the fifth day on Friday, D. Pandian, State Secretary of Communist Party of India sought the government's immediate intervention in the issue.
Addressing a demonstration held in support of the nurses at the Memorial Hall, he urged the government to convene talks with the management and the Labour Department to prevail upon the hospital authorities on implementing the demands of the nurses. The Vijaya Hospitals Nurses' Union has placed several demands, including the increase of basic pay to Rs.15,000, a hike in night-time allowance and appointment of more staff to ease workload. Praveen, union president, said that they had been negotiating with the management since early March. When there was no satisfactory response from them, they sent a representation to the management on May 5 with a notice for ‘direct action' if their demands were not met.
According to Mr. Praveen, the management responded by issuing show-cause notices to union leaders and suspending the general secretary precipitating the strike.
The nurses alleged that the management had roped in several male nurses from another private hospital since the protest began. “While the warden never allows even our parents to enter the nurses' hostel, male nurses have been provided access to the place for the last two days,” said a nurse on condition of anonymity.