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Monday, January 18, 2021

Hours after Delhi High Court order, AIIMS nurses call off strike

Earlier today, AIIMS had approached the High Court against the union, arguing that its strike was "against the law and public interest" and has brought the hospital to a standstill. 

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: December 15, 2020 11:10:18 pm
Court restrains AIIMS nurses’ union from continuing strikeAsking the union to file a reply, if any, to the plea in 10 days and granting AIIMS a week thereafter to file any rejoinder, the court listed the case next on January 18. No one was present on the union’s behalf during the hearing.

After the Delhi High Court Tuesday issued an order restraining AIIMS Nurses Union from continuing with its strike, the agitation was called off late night.

The HC order came after the Union Health Ministry directed the director of AIIMS to ensure no disruption of nursing functions given the coronavirus pandemic.

Over 3,000 nurses at AIIMS began an indefinite strike Monday afternoon demanding clarity over their long-pending demands, including those with regard to the Sixth Central Pay Commission.

Earlier today, AIIMS had approached the High Court against the union, arguing that its strike was “against the law and public interest” and has brought the hospital to a standstill.

In a letter to AIIMS director Dr Randeep Guleria, the nursing union had raised concerns over the 6th Central Pay Commission (CPC) anomaly. “The callous attitude of AIIMS administration towards nurses has forced us to go on an indefinite strike from Monday afternoon onwards,” said the letter.

On Monday, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan issued an order, citing a Delhi High Court judgment, and directed the AIIMS administration to ensure the directions are strictly followed. “There should be no cessation or disruption of nursing functions in AIIMS nor such an action aided or abetted. Non-compliance will be treated as offence under Disaster Management Act read with Indian Penal Code and action will be taken accordingly against defaulting authorities/ employees,” he said.

According to news agency ANI, the AIIMS administration has issued a letter to the protesting nursing staff, stating, “It may be ensured that attendance of all the nursing personnel who report for duty is mandatorily recorded and those absent, to be marked as such.”

In a video message, AIIMS Director Randeep Guleria termed the strike as “inappropriate and unfortunate” in the time of the Covid-19 pandemic and appealed to nurses to call off their agitation and return to work.

“I appeal to all nurses and nursing officers not to go on strike, and not to make us feel embarrassed about the dignity that we have as far as the nurses are concerned. I, therefore, appeal to all of you to come back and work and really help us get through this pandemic,” Guleria said.

The union’s demands include correction of an anomaly in the fixation of the initial pay as per the Sixth Central Pay Commission (CPC), redressal of issues such as abolishment of gender-based reservation in the recruiting process of nursing officers and contractual appointments, enhancement of hospital accommodation and cadre restructuring.

The administration has also made arrangements to ensure there is no disruption in services. Emergency services, OPDs, OTs will be curtailed and only limited procedures will be carried out depending on availability of resident doctors and faculty members.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has asked the Centre to consider granting break to doctors engaged in Covid-19 duty for the last seven-eight months, given that the work might be affecting mental health of doctors.

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