Hyderabad, July 15 (IANS) Over 700 contract staff, including nurses, sanitary and security workers, of government-run Gandhi Hospital here went on an indefinite strike on Wednesday, demanding regularisation of services and salary hikes.
The strike impacted the outpatient services and caused severe inconvenience to patients at the hospital, designated the Centre of Excellence for COVID care wherein critical cases are treated.
The indefinite strike began after four days of protest by the contract employees to press for their demands.
Contractual nursing staff were the first to raise their voice. Over 200 nurses have been demanding hike in salaries and regularisation of services.
The protesting nurses say that their demand is justified as they are risking their lives to render services during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Five contract nurses were recently found infected with coronavirus while discharging their duties.
Many nurses say they were appointed on contract basis in 2007 and are still paid Rs 17,000 per month while those appointed in 2018 were drawing salaries of over Rs 25,000.
Representatives of the protesting nurses had met Health Minister Eatala Rajender on Sunday but the talks failed to end the deadlock.
Sanitary and security staff working on contract basis also joined the nurses in the protest, demanding hike in wages.
Gandhi Hospital has seen series of protests by different sections of the employees over the last three months.
Junior doctors had also staged protest on two occasions against attacks by the relatives of COVID patients.