Kerala nurses stir: can CM Pinarayi break the deadlock?

With thousands of nurses in Kerala deciding to go ahead with their move to launch an indefinite strike on Monday, chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan has become forced to intervene to bring an end to the crisis. The chief minister will hold talks with the nurses’ associations on Thursday in the presence of the representatives of private hospital managements, an official release said here.

The Kerala High Court also has called for a mediation meet involving the stakeholders on Wednesday. Ready to obey govt: managements With the nurses standing firm on their demand for fair wage, hospital managements on Sunday decided to pay the salary fixed by the government.

The decision was taken at a meeting of the management representatives in Kochi. The government has suggested Rs 17,200 as minimum wage. The managements said they were abiding by the government’s order though the salary scale fixed was too high. They said they would look into the nurses’ demands with due consideration and form an action council to take follow-up actions.

Nurses stay firm on demand However, the nurses who have been on a warpath with the managements have stood firm on their demand that they should be paid a minimum wage of Rs 20,000, the amount fixed by a Supreme Court-appointed panel. With the chief minister planning to intervene in the issue, the United Nurses Association (UNA) has postponed the proposed indefinite strike to July 19 from July 17.

But the Indian Nurses Association, which had announced a strike in Kannur, Kasaragod, Thiruvananthapuram and Kollam districts from Monday, said it would go ahead with the decision. Students to be deployed The Kannur district administration has decided to deploy nursing students other than those in the first year, in hospitals in a bid to resist the strike.

The district authorities have decided to make available the service of around 200 students from eight colleges in Kannur from Monday to Friday.

The authorities have asked the hospital managements to arrange travel facilities for the students and the district police chief to ensure their security.

The UNA said the move amounted to playing with the lives of the patients. Meanwhile, BJP alleged that state government, instead of settling the nurses’ issue, was trying to suppress their agitation. BJP national executive member V. Muraleedharan said in a statement that government had acted in favor of private hospital managements and denied the reasonable wages to nurses.

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