Around 1,000 nurses from Sassoon Hospital,Aundh Civil Hospital,Regional Mental Hospital at Yerawada and Employees State Insurance Corporation Hospital will join their counterparts in the state and strike work on Tuesday. Nurses of government hospitals are also upset about the change in their dress code.
We are striking work for various demands that include parity in pay scales,filling up vacant posts and equipment and miscellaneous items in wards. We are also upset with the state order that directs nurses to revert to the old uniform system of a white coloured dress,belt and cap,instead of the camel coloured salwar kameez. But since the matter has to be decided by the court,this issue is not a part of our demand, says Anuradha Athawale,president of the Maharashtra Government Nurses Federation.
The order is applicable to 9,500 nurses across the state and around 6,250 nurses working at hospitals attached to medical colleges. The circular had stated that if nurses did not wear the traditional uniform they would not be allowed to mark their attedance. However,the nurses federation filed a writ petition in the Mumbai High Court against the order issued on February 28. The Mumbai High Court has directed the goverment to maintain a status quo on the circular. The hearing is on April 27.
We had fought against the white colour dress code for several years and it was in 2004 that nurses were allowed to wear the beige coloured salwar kameez, says Athawale. The white starched uniform is just not practical. Its high time medical authorities got over the colonial hangover. Our girls work all sorts of hours,at all sorts of places. The white frock is uncomfortable,difficult to maintain and not quite decent, says Suman Tilekar,secretary of the association of nurses at ESIS Hospital .
When contacted Dr P Shingare,Joint Director of Medical Education and Research,admitted that the government had issued orders to change the colour of the dress code. White is a symbol of cleanliness and the government favours uniforms that look tidy,Shingare told The Indian Express.
Athawale said demonstrations will be held and a protest march will be taken from Sassoon Hospital to the District Collectorate. When contacted,Dr Renu Bharadwaj,Dean of B J Medical College and Sassoon General Hospital,said routine operations will be postponed and student nurses will be brought in to take care of the patients in wards and during emergency.