In Kerala, 80,000 nurses will go on an indefinite strike from 17 July demanding higher wages which is likely to affect the functioning of hospitals. The United Nurses Association (UNA) and Indian Nurses Association, spearheading the ongoing agitation, said they would intensify their protest from 17 July. The situation could further turn worse considering that Kerala has been gripped by viral and dengue fever.
Satyagraha protests would be staged at the district headquarters and from 21 July, they would shift the focus to secretariat here, a release from the associations said. Notably, the nurses have been protesting since a past few days demanding minimum wages of Rs 20,000 as fixed by the Supreme Court.
Meanwhile, the private hospital managements said they would be able to provide only emergency services from Monday in view of the protest call. However, stating that 80,000 nurses would join the ‘total’ strike, UNA president, Jasmine Shah said they would not buckle ‘under pressure’ from private hospitals.
“The functioning of the hospitals will be affected. We can provide only limited services not involving nurses. There will be limited outpatient services. ICUs will not accept new patients,” said MI Shadulla of Private Hospitals Association of Private Hospitals of India (Kerala) chapter. He said only emergency surgeries would be undertaken.
“We can function only partially. We have already shut emergency rooms as all of them are full,” Shadulla, chairman of KIMS hospital, said.
Shadulla said that though he is sympathetic to the cause of the nurses, 56% hike was ‘very steep’ and would be ‘a burden’ on mid-size hospitals. He added that nurses with graduation were taken as trainees in private hospitals and were paid only Rs 6,500 per month.