THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Nurses in Kerala are gearing up for another round of agitation with the Kerala Private Hospital Management Association (KPHMA) refusing to accept the minimum wages declared by the state government.
The government had issued a notification on April 24 raising the minimum wage of nurses and lab technicians to Rs.20, 000 per month after the hospital managements refused to give the revised pay during talks initiated by Labour Minister T K Ramakrishnan.
The United Nurses Association, the largest union representing nurses working in the private hospitals, had called off their agitation following the government notification. However, they have threatened to resume the agitation in the light of the hospital management association’s decision not to implement the pay revision.
An association spokesman said that they may revive their plan to take out a long march to the state capital of Thiruvananthapuram. The association had dropped the plan in the wake of the government intervention.
A KPHMA statement alleged serious lapses on the part of the government in determining the minimum wages and said they will challenge it in the court. The statement said that majority of the hospitals may not be able to afford such a high salary and many of them may have to be shut down if they pay the government declared salary.
The Labour Minister asserted that the state government had issued the notification for implementation and it will do it at all costs. If the private hospital managements are going to the court, the government will face it.
The agitation of nurses affiliated to UNA along with that of Indian Nurses Association had been going on for a long time now. The agitation in July last year had paralysed the health sector across the state forcing the government to hold talks. Though a consensus had been reached at the time following talks, the state government had failed to issue the notification.
The government issued the notification after the associations threatened to boycott the hospitals from April 24.