The management of Primus Super Speciality Hospital met nursing officers Thursday for negotiations over complaints that salaries of nursing staff were being cut arbitrarily, and that nurses were being forced to work for up to 12 hours without a change of their PPE.
Of 130 nursing officers, barely a few attended work for two days, with medical superintendent Dr Subroto Gorai claiming that “doctors had to do all the nursing staff work too”. On Thursday, however, the matter was resolved and nursing staff returned to work, starting with the night shift. “The management has verbally agreed to work on our demands, and we have given them a week’s time to accept it. The night duty roster is ready and we are back. We will know in a week how serious the management is about us,” said a 33-year-old nurse.
On Tuesday, nurses had staged a protest and a “mass walkout” and didn’t report back till Thursday night, said Gorai.
The hospital, where Covid-19 patients have been admitted, submitted a complaint to the district administration that nurses were abandoning their duties with “ulterior motives”, following which the subdivisional magistrate (SDM), Chanakyapuri, had ordered that FIRs be filed against the nursing staff if they don’t return to Covid-19 emergency duty with immediate effect.
Additional DCP-I (New Delhi) Deepak Yadav said, “We have received the complaint and are inquiring into the matter.” A source at the ADM (New Delhi) office said the hospital informed them that the matter has been resolved.
“We were told to do 12-hour shifts in PPE, which is inhuman. The PPE is suffocating and we demand that our shift be reduced to six hours. They want us to work for 14 days in a row,” said a nurse.
Another alleged the administration insisted that “each nurse will get only one PPE per day”. “When we take a break to go to the washroom or to eat, we remove it. Ideally, we can’t wear it again but we are being made to do that. Likewise, they want us to use one N95 mask for over five days,” she said. A source at the hospital said “there are ample PPEs and masks and no one has been stopped from using more than one as per duty requirements”.
Nursing officers also alleged the hospital “cut salaries for three months without a notice”. A nurse told The Indian Express, “I am on a fixed salary. They have cut over 25% of my salary for three months now. There were days when the hospital didn’t put us on a duty roster. That’s their call, not mine. Why should I suffer?”
Nurses have also demanded that those deployed in the Covid-19 area of the hospital be given Rs 1,500 each per day as “Covid allowance”.
Gorai said the nursing officers had been told that they “have to work for two weeks a month, and will be paid full salary for it. I have also written to the HR department that their salaries be increased by 25%.”
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines