Updated: May 18, 2021 10:34:06 pm
Around 600 members of nursing associations in Surat and Vadodara began an indefinite strike on Tuesday, demanding a resolution to their pending issues, including wages and contracts, affecting work in the Covid-19 wards of civil hospitals.
The staff of SSG Hospital in Vadodara gathered outside the office of the medical superintendent, shouting slogans against the government. The hospital administration deputed staff from the Gujarat Medical Education and Research Society (GMERS)-run Gotri hospital to ensure the smooth functioning of its Covid-19 ward. Students of nursing colleges of Vadodara, who have been assisting in various extended Covid-19 facilities, were also called in.
The move, however, irked the protesting nursing staff further and they began shouting slogans against the principal of the nursing college, declaring that they would not resume duty until the nursing students deputed at the Covid-19 wards were sent back.
Sheetal Rajput, leader of the Nursing Association in Vadodara said in a statement that the strike would continue until the nursing students deputed in the Covid-19 wards as substitute are not recalled.
“They are trying to pit nursing students against nursing staff, which is not good. Unless they recall the nursing students, we will not resume duty. We have been working tirelessly since the outbreak of the pandemic, leaving our families behind. There is a valid reason why we are on strike,” said Rajput.
“The nursing students were sitting with us on strike in the morning. But the principal of the nursing college came and sent them for duty in Covid-19 ward under police protection. One of the issues we are fighting for is to provide a stipend to these students who have been deputed to assist in the Covid-19 wards. If they are not recalled, we will not raise the issue of their stipend with the government,” added Rajput
Officer on Special Duty Vinod Rao rushed to SSG Hospital to try and amicably resolve the issue but the association refused to end the strike until their demands were met.
“Nurses across Gujarat have been agitating for long for their demands such as payment of salaries, allowances, termination of contract system, filling of vacancies…, but the government does not give any importance to the nursing staff. The strike will continue till the outstanding issues are resolved,” Rajput said.
In Surat, despite being threatened of being booked under the Epidemic Disease Act, about 400 nursing staff of the civil hospital went on strike.
Surat Nursing Association leader Dinesh Agrawal said, “If no solution is arrived at, the strike will continue in the coming days. We have made representations to the government several times but in vain. Around 407 nursing staff and 100 nursing students are on strike. However, keeping in mind the pandemic situation and the cyclone, 25 nursing staff has been kept on standby.”
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