Labour Minister Shibu Baby John said that the State government will not support imposing the Kerala Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) 1994 on nurses who are on strike.

Addressing a press conference here on Saturday, Mr. John said that the decision was based on the inference that widespread exploitation of nurses prevails in the private hospital sector. He further said that the government will initiate steps to vacate the stay on prosecuting hospital managements that failed to provide minimum wages to nurses.

The minister’s statement on the applicability of ESMA assumes significance in the wake of a direction by a division bench of the Kerala High Court asking the State government to file a detailed affidavit on whether ESMA can be imposed in the case of striking nurses.

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