Karnataka: Nurses From Kidwai Hospital On Strike For A Week, Still No Respite In Sight
Around 170 nurses and 25 lab technicians from the Kidwai Memorial Institute of Oncology, Karnataka have been on a strike for a week now. As The New Indian Express reports, contrary to the fact that the strike would affect patients, the hospital authorities said that the situation is under control.
The nurses are protesting the hospital’s call to hire 150 nurses on a contract basis for nine months through the paramedical nursing board, reported The New Indian Express. “What is the need for calling for applications again if we have been working here across all departments in Kidwai? How did they hire us if we weren’t doing our jobs well? Will fresh graduates know better?,” said Sowmya HN who has been working there for three years.
Manjula V, Additional Chief Secretary, Medical Education Department, told The New Indian Express, “We cannot regularise them. There is a Supreme Court case where the court itself clearly says you cannot regularise those hired on an ad hoc basis. They cannot hold the hospital to ransom if it wants to hire trained nurses with tested skill sets. Some of the ad hoc nurses don’t have skill sets.”
Another one of their demands is a hike in their salary. Currently, they are being paid a salary of Rs 15,000 and they are demanding a hike. A pay revision of Rs 18,000 was proposed by the finance committee of the hospital but it has been pending with the government.
Another one of their demands is that they should be provided with proper ID cards that will prove that they are nurses with the oncology department. Sowmya HN said, “There is absolutely no proof that we work here when we go outside. How can you function like this?”
When the demand for the ID card was made, one of the doctors from the hospital said that the ID cards were ready but the nurses have not collected them because of their strike.
They say that they have been stuck with the “trainee” tag forever now. A nurse who has worked in the hospital for more than 10 years said still has the trainee tag. Shobha RK joined Kidwai as a ‘trainee’ nurse in 2008 and still is. She still earns only Rs 15,000. A permanent nurse with similar experience would earn at least Rs 35,000, reported The New Indian Express.
Shortage of staff in hospital
Dr Linge Gowda, director, Kidwai Memorial Institute of Oncology said the hospital was functioning at a normal pace. Not even a single patient seeking treatment has been turned away, he said. He added that the protesters were sending false messages saying that the ICU was not working while one ICU was closed for fumigation, which is a common procedure, reported TV9.