The Lakeshore hospital management dismissed more than 50 protesting nurses and have decided to initiate legal proceedings against them. Branding the strike as illegal, hospital management has moved the court against the nurses’ union. The nurses who are in their probationary period are not permitted to form a union or agitate against the management. It is a violation of rules.
The management has also recruited new nurses to take the place of those dismissed from service. The newly recruited nurses were given high police protection. “The strike is completely illegal. The United Nurses Association (UNA), which has called the strike, is registered as a charitable society and not as a trade union. A charitable society does not have the powers to conduct a strike or call for labourers’ rights. We have already taken the issue to court,” said the Lakeshore Hospital managing director and CEO Dr Philip Augustine. “A charitable society does not have the powers to call a strike. It is a technical issue. We have taken it up with the UNA,” said Regional Joint Labour Commissioner Vincent Alex. An increase in minimum wages and revision in nurse- patient ratio are some of the demands raised by the agitating nurses. The UNA has demanded a salary of Rs 16,000 a month for BSC nursing staff with an experience of 2-3 years and Rs 15,000 for general nursing staff. Currently the nurses are being paid a salary of rupees 7,130. Dr Philip opined that the management was providing fair wages to the nurses. The hospital management has hit out at the union saying that the amount was way above the government norm of Rs 9,000.