THRISSUR: The United Nurses Association (UNA), who have been on protest for about a month, has decided to go on an indefinite strike in the state from July 17. The move comes in the wake of Kerala Private Hospital Management announcing closure of hospitals. UNA president Jasminsha M told Express the strike will be extended in front of the Secretariat by bringing in all nurses from the state from July 21 if the managements do not agree to their demands.
He said the hospital managements were expected to agree to the rightful demands of the nurses to increase wages. However, by opting to close down hospitals they have proved they are operating the hospitals for commercial interests.
“Under such a circumstance, we have decided none of the nurses will work in hospitals across the state from July 17. While we have decided to give the managements time to look into the demands till July 21, all nurses in the state will go on an indefinite strike in front of the Secretariat in Thiruvananthapuram if the situation does not change by then. We allowed some nurses to work earlier to avoid inconveniences to hospitals and patients. However, with the management planning to close down hospitals, the nurses too will remain away from work,” Jasminsha said.
He said nurses are forced to work as trainees in many hospitals for several years with meagre salaries. “We want the government and the hospitals to fix the minimum wage of nurses at over Rs 20,000. The nurses cannot accept anything less than it,” he said. On whether the government is hesitating to take a positive decision, as several cooperative hospitals are controlled by the CPM and bringing reforms in wage will also force them to increase the wages of nurses in cooperative hospitals, Jasminsha said it could be a reason.