Kerala

A momentous day for striking nurses

With nurses in the private sector who are on an indefinite strike remaining unrelenting about their demands, focus now shifts to the discussion called by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday evening with the nurses’ unions and private hospital managements to resolve the current stalemate.

The Industrial Relations Committee (IRC) and the Minimum Wages Committee (MWC) are also meeting on Thursday morning to review the wage revision decisions taken at its last meeting on July 11.

The unions had rejected the revised wages fixed by the last IRC, which had merged the basic pay and DA and fixed the basic pay of nurses at ₹17,200. Including all allowances, the gross salary would come to ₹18,232.

Nurses’ demand

Both the Indian Nurses’ Association and the United Nurses’ Association are demanding that the minimum basic pay of nurses be ₹20,000 as recommended by the Jagdish Prasad Committee appointed by the Supreme Court in November. However, this did not figure in the last IRC meeting.

At Thursday’s IRC meeting, if the hospital managements express their willingness to pay nurses ₹20,000 as basic pay, the stalemate might end before the Chief Minister-initiated discussions. There have been many indications from various quarters that the government might succeed in resolving the nurses’ strike once and for all.

Facebook post

One such indication is the Facebook post by St. James Hospital, Chalakkudy, one of the hospitals affiliated to the Kerala Catholic Bishop’s Council, which announced through FB on Wednesday the new wage structure which would be paid to their nurses from August 1.

The FB post by hospital director Varghese Pathadan said the hospital would pay its BSc nurses a basic pay of ₹21,000, a nursing allowance of ₹1,200 and DA (15 % of basic) to give a gross pay of ₹25,350. The GNM nurses would be paid a basic pay of ₹20,000 and a gross pay of ₹ 24,200. The KCBC had announced earlier that it would increase the pay of the nurses under its hospitals.

“We are waiting for Thursday’s IRC meeting to finalise our wage structure. Because there has to be a clarity on various allowances and payments due to nurses as well as the issues raised by small hospitals. But I think we will wrap up the issues tomorrow itself and that the strike will be called off,” Thomas Vaikkathuparambil, Director of Lisie Hospital, Kochi, said.


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Printable version | Sep 18, 2021 10:00:03 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/a-momentous-day-for-striking-nurses/article19309339.ece

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