Pune: More than 100 nurses of the Jehangir Hospital went on a sudden strike and staged a protest outside the hospital near Pune Railway station on Sunday demanding for better pay and work conditions.
The protest was organised by the Maharashtra State Chapter of United Nurses Association demanding higher wages, reduced working hours and better working conditions. The association claimed that the nurses ensured that none of the emergency services were affected and social distancing norms and other directives of the health department were adhered to.
Nurses at the protest claimed that the hospital authorities threatened to terminate their services when demand for salary hike was made. The nurses said their work hours have extended up to 12 hours and performing duty with PPE kits for such a long time is difficult. So the nurses have demanded six hours of duty. The nurses have also submitted a written complaint to District Collector Naval Kishore Ram. Currently, the hospital is managing around 120 Covid-19 positive and 120 home quarantine COVID-19 patients apart from 70 other category patients.
Jehangir hospital has issued a statement in this regard. It says, “Sunday morning all of a sudden, several Jehangir hospital nursing staff raised a demand for salary increase. Due to the Covid-19 situation, the hospital currently is in no position to give any salary increments. Hospitals are regular in giving salary on time without any reduction or deferment. It is unfortunate that such episodes are occurring and a few people are trying to hold the hospital at ransom. In this current climate of national emergency, it is not ethical nor is it professional for the staff to make demands which cannot be reasonably or immediately met. The hospital on its part is ensuring salaries are paid on time and special ex-gratia is given to people working in COVID areas. In addition, special care is taken about their diet, transport, accommodation, and also free of cost treatment is offered not only to the staff but also their family members who are COVID-19 positive.”