At Jehangir hospital in Pune city, 200 nurses struck work, demanding better pay, less working hours and improved patient management. The Pune Malayalee Association and United Nurses Association are leading the nurses’ protest. Arun Krishna, president of the Pune Malayalee Association, said, “The nurses work for 12 hours with PPE kits which is very difficult. We want six hours of work.”
Besides, nurses get only Rs 10,000-12,000 salary. “We are demanding Rs 20,000 salary and incentives given for handling Covid patients in other hospitals,” he said. Also, he claimed, at Jehangir hospital, one nurse is asked to handle eight patients in ICU. “The government norm is one nurse for one patient in ICU,” he said. “The nurses have submitted a written complaint to District Collector Naval Kishore Ram,” he added.
When contacted, the district collector said, “I have received the complaint. The nurses should get salaries as per norms. I will talk to Jehangir management about this.”
In a statement, a Jehangir hospital spokesperson said, “This 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. Hospital is regular in giving salary on time without any reduction or deferment…”
The spokesperson added, “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.”
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