The nurses and the management of Mar Baselios Hospital in Kothamangalam have agreed on the government order to implement three-shift duty and appoint the required number of nursing staff.

Labour Minister Shibu Baby John told presspersons after a conciliatory meeting in Aluva on Sunday that the management had agreed to pay at least the minimum wage to registered nurses.

Health Minister V.S. Sivakumar, representatives of the Indian Nurses Association, authorities of the hospital and Labour Department officials participated in the talks.

The issue of number of beds will be decided within a month after a report is presented to the government by a three-member committee representing the Medical Education Department, the Nursing Council and the Labour Department. The issue of introducing the 12-hour night shift under the Shops and Establishments Act will be taken up by the Labour Department. This was the second major conciliatory meeting held in four days to resolve the issues raised by the nurses from the hospital, which had led to a 116-day strike climaxing in a suicide threat by three nurses on Wednesday. The three nurses were persuaded to come down from the top of the hospital building. The nurses withdrew the strike on Thursday after a long-drawn conciliatory meeting that was finalised after Leader of the Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan read out the agreement drawn up by the District Collector, in consultation with the Labour Department, the nurses and the hospital authorities. It was then decided to take up issues of disagreement at a meeting on Sunday.

Trust

Representatives of the hospital said they had trust in the government to resolve the contentious issues.

M.S. Eldose, convener of the conciliatory meeting on the part of the hospital, said at a press meeting after the meeting that there were no grievances with regard to the minimum wages of any employee in the hospital. The only disagreement was the ratio of the number of staff to the number of beds.

He said the turn of events in the strike with three nurses threatening suicide was a drama witnessed by all people in the State.

Justice

The representatives of the Indian Nurses Association, which had taken up the cause of nurses in the Kothamangalam hospital, told presspersons that the strike had become necessary since the hospital continued to deny minimum wages.Mohammed Shihab, general secretary of the association, said that all their demands had been heard and they expected the issues to be resolved with justice. Condemning the hospital authorities’ statement terming the suicide threat of the nurses a “drama,” Mr. Shihab said it was the extreme situation faced at the workplace in terms of wages and denial of their rights and penury at home that drove the nurses to such a step.