Mohammed Shihab, state general secretary of the Indian Nurses Association (INA), said that although an agreement was reached, minimum wages was not implemented till the strike took a dramatic turn and a subsequent order from the Collector followed.
He said that out of 352 nurses, 102 were kept away from giving the wages as agreed. “Minimum wages was enacted by the Supreme Court in October last. But, the hospital management took a stiff stand and did not pay,” said advocate T B Mini, who represented the nurses union.
She said that it was only on Saturday that the management paid the promised wages. The hospital was paying only `2,000 in place of Rs 7,000 as accorded in the minimum wages order by the Supreme Court.
On the issue of the working hours of the nurses, Shihab, said that although the agreement was reached between the management and the Regional Joint Labour Commissioner in March this year, nurses had to work at 12-hour stretch. The demand raised by the union to implement three-shift system was never put into order. The nurse-patient ratio was another issue took up in the discussion. The present ratio of 1:10 in general ward, 1:3 in ICU and 1:2 in ventilator room is against the normal hospital rating. Shihab said that union has demanded 1:7, 1:2 and 1:1, which is the normal practice nationwide.
“There will be no bond system. An official committee will be formed to look into patient-nurse ratio. The committee, after studying the bed strength and other related issues in the hospital, will submit its report to the government within a month. A final decision in this regard will be taken based on the report,” INA officials said.
Anu V S, Priya and Vidyarani, who threatened to jump from the top of the hospital building, were also present at the meeting.
They expressed satisfaction on the outcome of the meeting and said that they were paid on the basis of minimum wages agreement. Labour Commissioner T T Antony, Regional Joint Labour Commissioner Vincent Alex, District Labour Commissioner Sasi Prakash and District Labour Officer Narayanan Nampoothiri represented the government in the meeting. The nurses, who have been on a 115-hour-long strike, withdrew their stir on Thursday after mediation by Opposition Leader V S Achuthanandan.