Contract nurses at Hyderabad’s Gandhi hospital go on indefinite strike

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Nearly 200 contract nurses from Telangana's Gandhi General Hospital at Hyderabad went on an indefinite strike on Saturday, July 11, demanding payment at par with the newly recruited outsourcing nursing staff and regularisation of their services.

In a representation to the Health Minister Eatala Rajender, the nurses said they have been working since 2007 on a contract basis and were paid only Rs 15,000 per month. Having put themselves on the front line in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, many among them were already infected with the virus.

News Click report that these nurses have held numerous protest demonstrations for the last two months demanding job security, protection at work and decent wages among others. The protesting nurses are arguing that the state government is offering Rs 25,000 to Rs 28,000 salaries to the newly recruited nurses while undermining their long pending demand for regularisation of their work.

“For the last four months, these staff nurses have been at the forefront in serving COVID-19 positive patients taking meagre wages. It is time for the government to recognise their services and regularise their jobs,” News Click quoted Bhupal, State President of United Medical and Health Employees Union, affiliated to the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), as saying.  

Megha Bellapurla, the president of outsourcing nursing staff association at Gandhi hospital told Indian Express that 80 nurses have been detained by the police on Friday and later released when they went to give representation of their demands to the director of medical education (DME) office in Hyderabad.

Reports said that discontent is brewing in most sections of health over poor conditions under which they work. Last month, over 250 junior doctors and house surgeons protested for three days demanding decentralisation of COVID-19 treatment, enhancing security for the healthcare workers and increasing additional staff.

On Thursday, contract and outsourcing employees of the Nizam Institute of Medical Sciences (NIMS) hospital protested demanding release of their salaries, which have been pending since the past several months. Subsequently, senior officials of the hospital assured the workers that they will ensure their contractors will pay their wages.

Bhupal said that the government has failed in building confidence in the frontline workers despite them facing the brunt of the spikes in the spread of COVID-19 in the state.

Image Credit: Indian Express

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