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HC quashes order on nurses’ minimum wages and asks govt to revisit it

January 23, 2023 09:54 pm | Updated January 26, 2023 10:10 am IST - KOCHI

The Kerala High Court on Monday quashed the government notification issued in 2018 fixing the minimum wages of the nurses working in various private hospitals and directed the State government to revisit the issue. The court directed the State government to issue in three months a fresh notification fixing the minimum wages of the nurses in after hearing both the nurses and hospital managements in accordance with the provisions of the Minimum Wages Act . The court passed the verdict while disposing of writ petitions filed by the Kerala State United Nurses Association seeking higher wages and also by the Kerala Private Hospitals Association challenging the 2018 notification on the minimum wages for the nurses. The private hospital managements contended that the government did not consult them and announced the decision on the minimum wages unilaterally. They argued that the procedure for fixing and revising minimum wages as contemplated under section 5 of the Act had not been followed. As per the provisions, the government was bound to either appoint a committee to hold enquiries and advise it in respect of such fixation or revision of minimum wages, as the case may be, or by publishing a notification in the Official Gazette its proposals for the information of persons likely to be affected and specify a date, not less than two months from the date of the notification, on which the proposals would be taken into consideration. Though the court had ordered to solve the issue through mediation, it did not yield any results. The State government had submitted that the mediation efforts had failed as the nurses’ unions demanded higher wages and the hospital managements vehemently opposed it.

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