BENGALURU: Upset that their demands, including an increase in stipend, have not been met, nurses, who are on the frontlines of the fight against Covid-19, plan to protest by wearing black bands/badges from next week. The nurses, who are working under the Medical Education Department, alleged that Minister Dr K Sudhakar had recently increased stipends for resident doctors, surgeons and even post-graduate students, but it wasn’t done for nurses though the Bangalore Medical College Research Institute(BMCRI) Nurses Association had been raising the demand for some time now.
A senior nurse from BMCRI said, “We had asked for an increase in stipend last month, but it hasn’t happened so far. Many nurses have tested positive. All of us are at a high risk, but we are not getting paid well. We need a 50 pc hike in our salaries. We will wear black badges or bands and stage a protest. We wouldn’t stop working, but we will continue the protest till our demands are met.” The nurses also pointed out that they have no social security scheme.
“If anything happens to us while on duty, our families don’t get any benefits. We are also asking for cashless treatment, wherein private hospitals treat us and the government directly pays. Right now, we have to pay up and later claim refund, which takes six months to a year,” said a nurse. They also claimed that they are not covered by the Karnataka Government Insurance Department whereas nurses under the Health Department are covered. “This apart, we want the New Pension Scheme to benefit us too,” said another nurse. Their other demands include a one-month paid holiday and incentives.