Nurses' strike: Court orders police protection for hospital

Indo Asian News Service

Kochi, Feb 1 (IANS) The Kerala High Court Wednesday directed police to provide protection to a private hospital which recruited 100 new nurses after failure of talks over the last three days to end a strike by the staff seeking better wages.

Nurses at the Lakeshore hospital here are on a strike seeking better working conditions, forcing the management to approach the court.

The hospital management informed the court that their attempts to end the strike through talks failed but since patients were suffering they had recruited 100 new nurses.

Since November 2010, when a new organisation called United Nurses Association was formed, several hospitals had to face the wrath of staff who struck work demanding better service conditions, including higher pay.

Functioning at two private hospitals, one in Ernakulam district and another in Kozhikode district, for the past few days has been affected due to nurses' strike.

As per government rules, the starting salary of a nurse including allowances should be in the range of Rs.8,000.

'We are getting a mere Rs.3,500-4,000 per month even after putting in three to four years' work. This is grossly unfair because we have to also live and how is it possible with this pittance,' said a striking nurse in Kozhikode.

Labour Minister Shibhu Baby John has directed the labour commissioner to submit a detailed report after checking the salary paid to nurses in the private sector.

'It is now the responsibility of the labour department officials to check and verify if the private hospitals are paying the minimum wages prescribed and if there is any dereliction of duty in this matter, strong action would be taken,' said John.