Nurses in the private sector, under the banner of Indian Nurses’ Association (INA), will organise a Secretariat march and dharna on May 20, to protest against the manner in which the Balaraman committee report has been cast aside to be replaced by the Industrial Relations Committee (IRC) report.

The IRC report clearly favours private hospital managements, they claim.

In a statement here recently, INA said the government had totally set aside the report of the Balaraman committee, which had conducted hearings in all districts and had directly heard from the nurses about their pitiable pay and service conditions, before submitting the report.

By going solely by the IRC’s decisions and by announcing exaggerated salary-hike claims, the government was denying justice to the nurses again, INA State general secretary Mohammed Shihab said.

The IRC report did not speak about increased salary for experienced nurses and it allowed hospital managements to continue to employ registered nurses as trainees. Nurses who were given registration by the Indian Nursing Council and the Kerala Nursing Council (KNC) were ready to be employed as full-time nurses just as in the case of MBBS graduates, INA said.

The INA urged the government to implement the recommendations of the Balaraman panel in full. It sought the setting up of a separate Nursing Directorate and 35 per cent reservation for male nurses. It also demanded that all nurses who had been given registration by the KNC be given minimum wages and that the practice of employing qualified, registered nurses as trainees be stopped completely. The INA also demanded that those nursing schools and colleges in the private sector which did not give sufficient practical training to students be closed down.