AS NEGOTIATIONS FAIL, STRIKING NURSES TAKE OUT MASSIVE PROTEST RALLY IN FARIDABAD & BLOCK B.K. CHOWK
HOSPITAL MANAGEMENT INSTALLS PHONE JAMMERS INSIDE THE HOSTEL TO INTIMIDATE STRIKING NURSES
PATIENTS HEALTH IN PERIL AS UNTRAINED NURING STAFF & NURSING STUDENTS ARE BROUGHT IN AS REPLACEMENTS
The nurses of Asian Institute of Medical Sciences (AIMS), Faridabad and QRG Central Hospital continue to sit on strike for the NINTH consecutive day. Since the management of AIMS hospital is determined not to increase the pay of the nurses, and not to reduce their work load by removing compulsory double duty, negotiations held with the AIMS management on 14.05.2012 failed. While the next round of negotiations is still pending in the case of QRG Central hospital, the chances of the QRG management conceding some of the main demands of the nurses’ is doubtful.
In order to build larger public pressure on the hospitals’ management as well as the district administration of Faridabad, the striking nurses of both hospitals took out a big rally from BT Chowk. There they blocked the roads surrounding the Chowk for nearly two hours till they were given the assurance that the District Commissioner will meet them in person on the 16th. The nurses’ rally was supported by trade unions in Faridabad, women’s organizations, welfare associations, several civil rights groups, and democratic and progressive individuals. Meanwhile, the two hospitals concerned kept up the façade of “normal” functioning by replacing the striking nurses with untrained nursing staff and nursing students—a measure which is putting patients at serious risk.
The striking nurses have continuously complained about the uncooperative approach of the district and labour administration. They argue that the district administration and labour office was intervening in a manner which reflects their connivance with the hospitals’ management. In the case of QRG Central, the civil court ordered that the peaceful demonstration of the striking nurses be shifted to a distance of 200 meters to an inconspicuous and distant location. Interestingly, the law allows for only 100 meters distance. In the case of both hospitals, the local officials are preventing the nurses from putting up a tent structure to protect themselves from the heat.
As expected, with each day the harassment by the hospitals’ management escalates. On the night of 14.05.2012 when AIMS nurses returned to their hostel after their ninth day of strike, they found jammers installed inside their hostel. Because of the device the nurses could not make or receive calls for several hours. Suspecting foul play they called the police and pushed for an inspection of a vacant, locked room where the felt the jammer was installed. Initially, the police was reluctant to remove the device due to pressure from the management, but then finally because all the nurses pressed for action, the jammer was finally removed at 10pm,” said an agitated nurse of AIMS hospital. Today (15.05.2012), the security staff of the hospital removed the water cooler installed in the hostel, hence, depriving the nurses of drinking water. Security personnel/bouncers hired by the hospitals are continuously entering the women’s hostels, and coercing individual nurses to join back. “A nurse who was recuperating from an attack of serious illness was continuously mentally pressurized by the hospital’s nursing supervisor who kept calling her on the phone—something which worsened her condition,” said another agitated nurse.
Considering the hostile atmosphere, the nurses of both AIMS and QRG Central hospitals have decided to form a Joint Action Committee (JAC) so as to unite nurses of all the different hospitals in Faridabad. Considering that conditions continue to be grave, the nurses resorted to a larger public campaign. During their rally they distributed pamphlets explaining to the general public how their strike was in favour of better patient care.
Delhi Nurses Welfare Association
Workers Unity Centre
Centre For Struggling Women