Stalemate in IRC over nurses’ wages

Managements and nurses’ unions differed on the quantum of minimum wa-ges in private hospitals, leading to a stalemate in the discussions of Indus-trial Relations Committee (IRC) when it met in the capital on Thursday.

While managements were ready for a 10 per cent hike in minimum wages for all staff including nurses, nurses sought a starting salary of Rs 20,000 a month, higher than the Rs12,900 set by the Balaraman panel.

Labour minister Shibu Baby John, who presided, expressed unhappiness over IRC failing to take a decision even after three months. He set September 5 for a final round of discussions, while the nurses’ unions threatened a stir.

While agreeing that nurses needed better pay, the managements pointed out that the government needed to delink the issue of wage hike for nurses and other semi-skilled and unskilled workers.

“If it is an across-the-board hike for all, we can’t offer more, as already 50 per cent of hospital revenues go to meet wages,” Dr R. Ashokan of the IMA Hospital Board told DC.

United Nurses’ Association (UNA) state president Jasmin Sha M. said, “We have no option but to launch a state-wide agitation if this negative attitude continues.”

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