5-day nurses stir draws supporters

The agitation by several nurses from three popular private hospitals across the city raged on as they continued their strike on Monday demanding a minimum wage hike from their existing meagre salaries that hardly help them make ends meet. The strike, which has been going on for five days, took a significant turn Monday as some political parties and doctors associations extended their support to the nurses.

While CPI state secretary D. Pandian addressed the striking nurses, members of the AITUC and the doctors’ association for social equality (DASE) have come out with statements condemning the hospital managements that have turned a deaf ear to the cries of the protesters.

AITUC state general secretary T.M. Moorthy alleged that some of the hospitals had cut water and power supplies to the quarters of the striking nurses. He warned that other trade unions would join if the nurses’ fair demands were not met.

The protesting nurses from Madras medical mission hospital, Apollo hospital and Fortis Malar lamented that they get a basic pay of `3,000 while their counterparts in government service drew a much higher salary. “These corporate hospitals charge the patients high and take lakhs of rupees as medical fees but they are so reluctant to pay their nurses,” said Dr G.R. Ravindranath, DASE general secretary.

“The management claims that apart from paying us, they provide food, accommodation and transport, but how do they expect us to survive with a basic pay of `3,000? Despite the long hours that we put in at the hospital, we do not have any job security,” said a nurse who is a member of the welfare association for registered nurses.

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