36 nurses recruited for COVID-19 ward working without pay for 70 days


Thirty-six nurses, who were recruited on temporary basis for the COVID-19 ward in Virudhunagar Government Medical College Hospital, are working without pay for 70 days.

The nurses, who had earlier cleared Medical Services Recruitment Board examination in 2019, were taken on contract basis for six months. The candidates, who had undergone B.Sc. in Nursing or Diploma in Nursing courses, joined duty on May 11.

“We have completed 70 days of work and not received even the first month’s salary till date,” one of the nurses complained.

Every time the salary issue was raised, the authorities complained that many of them had not submitted their duty certificate and photocopy of their savings bank passbook with details of account number.

The nurses then put peer pressure on those who failed to submit the documents immediately.

“One of our colleagues had submitted the photocopy four times. But, the officer concerned asked for it for the fifth time saying that he had not received it,” she alleged.

However, the salary of ₹ 14,000 per month had been paid to candidates who were recruited elsewhere in the State.

“One of them told us that her account had been credited with ₹ 23,000 – for 21 days in May and for one month of June,” the nurse claimed.

“When we all visited the office of Joint Director of Health Services to enquire about the salary, we were asked not to enter the office as we had worked in the COVID-19 ward and sent back without any proper answer,” the nurse alleged.

In May, the nurses were given duty in COVID-19 ward for one week followed by one week quarantine at a hotel and then one day leave.

“But, later, they started to keep us in quarantine for lesser number of days and again put in COVID-19 ward,” she complained. They also denied them any leave saying that quarantine period itself was leave for them.

Stating that continuous exposure in the COVID-19 ward without minimum break for quarantine would make them vulnerable against the virus, the nurses wanted to follow the established rules as being implemented for the regular nurses.

The new nurses want the authorities to stick to the roaster for duty so that their health is not compromised.

Meanwhile, enquiry with officials in the Health Department revealed that the department was functioning with skeletal staff. The process of salary disbursement was under way and their salary would be credited in the next two days.

When contacted, Virudhunagar Collector R. Kannan said that the issue had not come to his notice yet. “I will look into it and ensure the salaries are disbursed at the earliest,” he said.

However, on the work burden, he said that the situation warrants some additional efforts from younger people as the elderly nurses, who are more vulnerable, need to be kept away from COVID-19-related jobs.

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Printable version | Jul 1, 2022 11:22:35 pm |