Delhi AIIMS Nurses go on Indefinite Strike, Centre Warns of Action
The nurses went on strike on Monday, 14 December, citing lack of clarity on salary structure.
Nurses at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi went on an indefinite strike on Monday, 14 December, afternoon, citing a list of demands that also include one related to the 6th Central Pay Commission, news agency ANI reported.
Dr Randeep Guleria, the Director of AIIMS, made an emotional request to the Nurses’ Union, which declared the strike, to “not go on strike and come back and work and help us get through the pandemic.”
“It's unfortunate the union has gone on a strike now, only a few months from when a vaccine will provide the solution.” he said, adding, "The nurses' union had put in 23 demands. Almost all the demands have been met by the AIIMS administration and the government."
Health Ministry Steps In
Meanwhile, the Health Ministry on Monday directed that there should be "no cessation or disruption of nursing functions in AIIMS nor such an action aided or abetted."
“It's hereby directed that AlIMS Delhi should ensure that the directions of the Delhi High Court are strictly complied with without fail," Rajesh Bhushan, Secretary, Health Ministry, said.
“Non-compliance will be treated as an offence under the Disaster Management Act read with the Indian Penal Code, and action will be taken accordingly against defaulting authorities/employees,” he added.
AIIMS Delhi also reportedly released a statement saying that the nurses' strike violates the directions of the Delhi High Court.
Appealing to the union not to go on strike during the crisis of the pandemic and to return to patient care immediately, AIIMS said, "Their demands stand discussed with them for resolution. Union abandoned critically patients on demand of perceived anomaly of fixation of initial pay related to 6th CPC of 2006...Nurses’ Union was apprised that their interpretation isn't covered under existing instructions of the Finance Ministry. Because nurses were looking for a hike in salary, the Ministry of Health has considered it sympathetically as a fresh demand for consideration [sic]"
Fameer CK, the General Secretary of the AIIMS Nurses’ Union, had earlier told NDTV, “Till recently, we were told our demands were being considered. Key among them were the Sixth Pay Commission's payouts and the hiring of contractual workers. Now, we've been informed that interviews were held just today to recruit contractual workers.”
The nurses were reportedly called in for a meeting last year and assured of a solution, which has still not been delivered.
(With inputs from ANI and NDTV)
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