The All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) Nurses’ Union called off its strike on December 16, following the Delhi High Court’s decision to stop the strike against the hospital’s alleged decision of hiring nursing officers on a contractual basis. Mr Harish Kumar Kajla, the President of AIIMS Nurses Union, said on the same day, “The Union has decided to suspend the strike respecting the High Court order today”
Why were nurses on strike?
In November 2020, the Nurses’ Union had given a notice for the strike from December 16 2020 over an ‘anomaly’ regarding their pay under the Sixth Central Pay Commission, due to which these nurses are being ‘paid less’ and other demands. Nurses indicated their salary was fixed at a rate, but they receive less. They said that their demand is not a pay hike; instead, they are to be paid what is mentioned under the Sixth Pay Commission.
The other demand includes gender neutrality in the profession and give place for qualified male nurses. The listed demands also included pension scheme, cadre restructuring, qualification pay and modifications in job description.
The recruitment procedure by contractual basis instead of examination has further angered the nurses to go on strike.
On December 14, Mr Randeep Guleria, the Director of AIIMS, had pleaded the nurses to call off their protest and return to work. He had termed the strike ‘very inappropriate’, and claimed that 22 out of 23 demands made by the Nurse’s Union had been agreed. However, the Union disagrees to the same.
On December 15, the nurses sought justice outside the Director’s office and stated that they were ‘forced’ to go on strike by the hospital administration. Mr Kajla mentioned to the media that instead of the hospital administration taking the initiative to speak to them, they were threatening the mass of nurses against going on a strike.
Delhi High Court Intervention:
Justice Navin Chawla, the Permanent Judge of the Delhi High Court, had passed the order earlier on December 15 2020. The request placed by the Administration of AIIMS, to refrain the nurses from protesting any further, led to the order being declared.
Moreover, AIIMS asserted that the entire hospital had come to a standstill due to the strike. The court instructed the Nurses’ Union to suspend the strike ’till further notice’. The upset nurses were assured that their pleas are being taken care of by the authorities. The High Court issued notice to the Union while affixing the case for hearing on January 18 2021.