Faridabad Update: Impact of nurses’ strike spreads despite intimidation and threats

DESPITE SEVERE HARASSMENT AND BEING MANHANDLED BY BOUNCERS, NURSES CONTINUE TO SIT ON STRIKE
WATER & ELECTRICITY SUPPLY CUT OFF IN THE NURSES’ HOSTEL ACCOMMODATION
IMPACT OF STRIKE SPREADS TO OTHER HOSPITALS

The nurses of Asian Institute of Medical Sciences (AIMS), Faridabad and QRG Central Hospital continue to sit on strike for the eighth consecutive day. With each day the harassment by the hospitals’ management escalates. Nevertheless, the nurses continue to sit on strike. Today, bouncers hired by the AIMS management manhandled nurses who were passing by the hospital on the way to their hostel accommodation. When activists from the women’s organization, Centre for Struggling Women (CSW) and Workers’ Unity Centre of India (WUCI) intervened, the bouncers tried to manhandle them too and used filthy, abusive language in order to intimidate the nurses. The local police initially intervened in favour of the bouncers but when accosted with the fact that the road outside the hospital is public property and cannot be regulated by the bouncers, the police accepted the bouncers were harassing the nurses.

Similar tactics of intimidation are being used in the hostels where the nurses reside. Water and electricity supply in the hostels are often cut off, and the nurses are threatened every day to vacate their rooms. Despite the fact that the management of both AIMS and QRG Central have called for negotiation today, intimidation and threats continue in order to force the striking nurses to settle fast. These acts are, hence, in complete violation of the spirit of amicable negotiation and the spirit of collective bargaining.

Unfortunately, even the district administration and labour office is 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. And 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.

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 are also considering holding a JOINT PROTEST outside the office of the Deputy Labour Commissioner in Faridabad, and the Union Health Minister. “If the negotiations will not go in favour of the striking nurses then the nurses are thinking of taking out a big rally in Faridabad, and uniting nurses across the board. After all, negotiation doesn’t mean settle for less,” said CSW activist, Maya John. Interestingly, the nurses’ strikes in Faridabad are already impacting the functioning of other private hospitals in the NCR. For example, nurses of Sharda Hospital in Greater Noida have also gone on strike with respect to demands for pay hike, regulated work hours, etc.

Thankamma Ravindran
Delhi Nurses Welfare Association

Alok Kumar
Workers Unity Centre

Maya John
Centre For Struggling Women
Ph: 9350272637

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