The ongoing three-day-long strike and agitation by contract nurses at the DMS premises in Chennai was called off after Madras High Court’s orders.
More than 3000 contract-based nurses were protesting for better wages, eight-hour shifts and permanent jobs. The HC called the protests ‘illegal’ and instructed the nurses to hold talks with the government.
“Strike called by persons, who are engaged in providing essential services, calls for stern action. We thus deem it appropriate to declare the strike as illegal,” the court said.
Recruited by the Medical Recruitment Board (MRB) through an entrance test, the contract-based nurses are given regular pay after a duration of two years depending on the vacancies and seniority. However, the promotion to permanent employment is not guaranteed.
A representative of Tamil Nadu Government MRB Welfare Association, said that even after completing the minimum two years under consolidated pay, the nurses are paid ₹7,700 as against the regal pay of ₹45,000 per month, while everyone else including doctors, radiographers, and other medical staff gets paid according to the time pay scale.
The strike started on Monday and has largely affected the private and government health discharge in the city.
Initially, the press was also barred from covering the strike, but, now they are allowed to speak to the protesters. The police, reportedly, made several attempts to thwart the protests, including cutting off facilities such as water supply and toilets at the protest site and shutting down the canteen as well as locking them up. They had also threatened the nurses to vacate the premises by 6 am on Wednesday.
The police authorities, however, argued that such steps were taken in order to ensure the safety of the nurses. They argued that a very large crowd would be unmanageable. After the High Court’s order, few of the nurses decided to call off the protests temporarily while the others refused to stop and would continue to protest until their demands are met.
Picture Credit: nursehow.blogspot.com
Heena Manghani is an intern with SheThePeople.TV.
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