Nurses fired by Delhi hospital for demanding basic facilities to get compensation with interest

The tribunal said the management of Jamia Hamdard Hakeem Abdul Hameed Centenary (HAHC) hospital "clearly committed unfair labour practice by terminating their services".
Image used for representational purposes (Express Illustrations)
Image used for representational purposes (Express Illustrations)

NEW DELHI: A Delhi tribunal has directed a private hospital in the national capital to pay compensation with interest to as many as 22 nurses who were terminated from their jobs during the Covid outbreak following their protest against the management over lack of PPEs, quarantine facilities and other basic rights.

Rouse Avenue Courts' Industrial Tribunal Presiding Officer Ajay Goel, in a recent order, said the management of Jamia Hamdard Hakeem Abdul Hameed Centenary (HAHC) hospital "clearly committed unfair labour practice by terminating their services by way of victimization as they dared to raise their genuine demands before the management."

The terminated staff are entitled to retrenchment compensation and leave encashment with an interest rate of 8 per cent per annum from the date of accrual till the final payments, it was asserted.

"It cannot be disregarded that the health workers played an important role during the Covid 19 pandemic and ultimately they were rewarded by the management with their termination, therefore, management is directed to pay their rightful dues..within 60 days.." the order said.

As per the nurses' plea, on July 11 2020, the hospital terminated around 84 staff nurses working on contractual basis as a 'retaliatory move' as they were raising issues including not providing PPE kits and N-95 masks during the treatment of Covid patients in the ICU.

They also demanded proper quarantine facilities for nurses attending to COVID patients as two nurses at that time got infected. However, instead of resolving their grievances, the management terminated their services following which they approached the Labour Commissioner and Delhi High Court.

Subsequently, 22 members of the 84 staff approached the tribunal against the management.

The tribunal observed that the management did not comply with provisions of Section 25 F, G and H of the Industrial Disputes Act while terminating their services.

The hospital argued that the employees were on one-year contract and their services were suspended after the period. Due to the pandemic because of the influx of the number of patients, nurses were required in huge numbers but after the pandemic the management did not require their service any more, it was added.

However, the tribunal noted that some of the employees were working since 2011, saying "it is not upon the whims and fancies of the management that it can pick and choose the workmen and terminated their services without assigning them any reason whatsoever."

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The New Indian Express