Indian nurses start ‘indefinite’ strike

Indian nurses start ‘indefinite’ strike

Thousands of nurses across India have started an indefinite strike for better pay and conditions. Historically unorganised, Indian nurses have formed a new union, creating over 400 branches in two months. They have vowed to remain on strilke until their wages are increased by around 80%. Courts have deemed the strike to be illegal and have instructed police to assist scabs to get into work.

Nurses are the latest group of workers in India to fight back and demand better terms and conditions, and a share of the economic growth. The nurses are demanding a salary of 15,000 Rupee’s. They currently earn 9,000. In some states hospitals are not even paying the legal minimum wage to qualified nurses.

Nurses in many hospitals across India have gone on an ‘indefinite’ strike, with others set to follow.

On Wednesday, the high court ordered police to intervene and ensure that scabs can get into work safely. The court has declared that the strike that has been in place since Monday is illegal. The court has issued notice to the nurses union to end the strike. Several areas are reporting striking workers being sacked or suspended.

Nursing leaders have said that the strike is ‘indefinite’ and will only end when management agree to their demands.

Conditions endured by the nurses are so poor that a spokesman from the women’s wing of the ruling congress party stated that, “the nurses are being tortured by the hospital management”.

The leading India trade union, the INTUC, who doesn’t ordinarily represent nurses, has stated that, “We will not allow anybody to harm he nurses, who are spearheading a struggle for just causes. If necessary, the INTUC will directly take up leadership of the agitation”.

Historically, Indian nurses were disorganised. In the last two months, the majority of India’s nurses have joined the newly formed, United Nurses Association, which in eight weeks has grown to 432 branches. The newly formed Union are vowing to bring significant changes to nurses pay and condition across India.

Solidarity with the Indian nurses!

Posted By

working class s...
Feb 2 2012 23:26


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Feb 2 2012 23:28

Wow, it definitely seems like there is an upswing in industrial action by health workers recently

Feb 3 2012 02:30

Dear you had made some mistakes in this news.In kerala nurses are getting only 1500rs as salary not 9000 and court didnt declared the strike as illegal.but court found that nurses are exploited by hospital managements.Kindly dont spread wrong news...

Feb 3 2012 02:59

The Kerala High Court has taken the
view that nurses in private hospitals
are an exploited lot and they are
resorting to strikes due to the
selfishness of the hospital
Acting Chief Justice Manjula Chellur
and Justice P.R . Ramachandra Menon
made the observation on Thursday
while considering a Public Interest
Litigation against the nurses’ strike
filed by one Joseph Mathew, a dialysis
patient in Kolencherry Medical
“Even those nurses with 10 years’
experience are getting a paltry sum as
salary. This is despite the fact that they
undergo severe mental and physical
stress due to the nature of their job,”
the court said.
The court also observed that junior
doctors too were an ill-paid lot and
they too had gone on agitations. The
court wondered how hospital
managements can pay nurses
peanuts even while claiming that
their’s was an essential service.
The petitioner, meanwhile, sought
clamping of Kerala Essential Services
Maintenance Act (ESMA) on the
striking nurses.
He said that the strike by nurses had
seriously affected medical treatment in
Kochi. The court asked the nurses and
hospitals to refrain from acts that
could affect the well-being of patients.
It posted the case to Friday for further
Meanwhile, the Malankara Syrian
Orthodox Church Medical College at
Kolencherry and the Lakeshore
Hospital, Kochi, on Thursday
implemented minimum wages for
probationary and trainee nurses. The
two hospitals had earlier introduced
minimum wages to other categories
of nurses.
District panchayat president Eldos
Kunnapally mediated between the
nurses and the management at
Kolencherry Medical College.
The nurses brought down their salary
demand from `18,000 to `15,000 and
the management sought time to
consider it.
The BJP on Thursday extended
support to the nurses' strike.
Addressing the agitators at Lakeshore
Hospital, BJP district president P.J .
Thomas asked the hospital
managements to settle the strike as it
had affected the patients.

Feb 3 2012 03:15

intensify stir at
Lakeshore hospital
1 February 2012, Staff Reporter
750 of the 800-odd nurses join the
Nurses at Lakeshore Hospital under
the United Nurses Association
intensified their stir on Tuesday
with about 750 of the 800- odd
nurses at the hospital joining the
strike, claimed the president of the
Association, Jasmin Sha.
Mr. Sha said that the Labour
department's report giving a clean
chit to the management of
Lakeshore was not correct.
The minimum wages are applicable
only for new appointments, he said.
However, a nurse with 16 years of
experience at Lakeshore is drawing
only Rs. 7,000 , he said. There are 18
nurses who are given a mere Rs.
1,000 with no food and
accommodation, Mr. Sha said. Most
others are paid in the range
between Rs. 4,000 and Rs. 6,000 , he
The managing director of Lakeshore
Hospital Philip Augustine said that
the functioning of the hospital had
not been disrupted by the strike
that started on Monday. Doctors and
other staff are cooperating, he said.
The hospital recruited 50 new hands
on Tuesday from its standing list of
personnel, who had been
interviewed in the past.
This will ensure the smooth
functioning of the services, he said.
He said that the hospital authority
had not served termination notice on
50 probationers. “We will wait
another day to see if they come
back,” Dr. Augustine told The Hindu.
The hospital management had
approached the court to get the
strike by nurses at the hospital
declared as illegal after the Labour
Commissioner issued a statement
that the strike was illegal. Besides,
he said, the organisation that called
the strike was a registered
charitable organisation. The Labour
Minister Shibu Baby John too had
expressed his view that the strike at
the hospital was illegal, Dr.
Augustine added.

working class s...
Feb 3 2012 10:01

Hi munch666nath, I am not spreading wrong news. Follow the links in the article. It's not me claiming they get 9,000 a year, it's is nurses in an interview with an Indian newspaper. Also you claim, it's only 1500 and not 9000, yet in your next post it's says they get 7000!! The Kerala state government says that it pays 8000 for a nurse with two years experience.

Again read the articles linked. The court has declared the strike illegal, and has issued notice to the united nurses association

kot motrozkin
Feb 3 2012 12:32

Is there a strike fund we can contribute to?

Feb 4 2012 04:24

Dear please read the above link carefully...the one who get 7000 as salary having 16 years of experience.As i am a nurse from kerala i know the facts.If you need solid proof for these things i can submit my friends salary certificate who is working in aims cochin.

Feb 4 2012 04:43

After Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata, it is now the turn of Kerala, the largest sourcing centre for nurses in the country, to witness agitations by nurses of private hospitals for decent payment, end to harassment by managements and better working conditions.

Over one thousand nurses of two of the largest private medical centres of Kerala are presently on agitation demanding minimum wages while thousands of nurses had struck work for several days in a minimum of five large hospitals in the past two months. The State Government is worried about the possibility of the agitations spreading into more hospitals soon.

Healthcare services at “five-star” Lakeshore Hospital in Kochi and MOSC Medical Mission Hospital in Kolenchery, Ernakulam remained hit respectively for the fourth and sixth days on Thursday due to the agitations by nurses. Over 600 nurses of the famous National Hospital in Kozhikode have threatened to start an indefinite strike from Monday.

The number of nurses agitating in Lakeshore Hospital is over 700 while more than 250 nurses are at strike in the Kolenchery hospital. The lakeshore management has so far refused to talks to the agitating nurses and has adopted a position that any settlement would come through the court, which has already ordered police security for the hospital.

The management of the Lakeshore Hospital, one of the largest and most expensive multi-specialty hospitals in Kerala, says that it has been paying the nurses on their employment rolls all required emoluments including above-minimum wages, bonus, festival allowances, etc but the nurses term it as a lie.

“The Management is lying. Why do you think more than 700 nurses, including nursing directors and superintendents, have joined this agitation if all of them are getting decent payment?” asked a male nurse who was still being paid a little over Rs 4,000 a month despite his more-than four years’ experience and BSc degree in nursing.

An activist of the United Nurses’ Association (UNA) pointed out that the Government had set the nurses’ minimum wages in 2009 as Rs 9,000 a month but not even five percent of the hundreds of private hospitals in the State were paying even half that amount. “It is exploitation, plain and simple,” she said.

The UNA, constituted just a couple of months ago in the State where no organization existed for private hospital nurses, has units in more than 430 hospitals now and nurses of more and more private medical centres are opting to join it. “That also shows how pathetic the working conditions and payment systems in our hospitals are,” said the UNA activist.

As per a study, over 21 percent of nurses the in private hospitals in Kerala are getting salaries of less than Rs 1,500 a month and less than one percent are paid at Government rates. Rigorous working conditions and sexual harassment in the form of comments and gestures from rich patients and by-standers are other complaints heard normally from woman nurses.

The study says that close to half of all the private hospital nurses in Kerala are made to work for up to 12 hours a day and the eight-hour-a-day work period is a luxury enjoyed by a tiny percentage. “Nurses would look at you in surprise if you ask them what kind of pay they get for overtime work. Such a concept does not exist in Kerala,” said a UNA office-bearer.

Lawmakers from Kerala had recently visited Delhi and Mumbai to study the under-payment, over-workload and other persecutions being meted out to Keralite nurses by hospital managements there. “But they have no time to see our plight. Politicians have not so far showed any mercy to us,” said Jeena John, a nurse in a Kochi hospital.

The agitations by nurses in Kerala got an indirect justification from the High Court on Thursday when it observed that nurses in the private sector in the State were being exploited. The selfishness-driven managements were exploiting the nurses on the pretext that they were in the essential services sector, the court said. They were being forced to work for lesser salaries and this was the main reason for the current problems in the sector, it said while considering a petition pertaining to the nurses’ stir at the MOSC Medical Mission Hospital at Kolenchery in Ernakulam district. A division bench of Acting Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice PR Ramachandra Menon also observed that there were private hospitals in Kerala that had not revised the nurses’ salaries even once in the past ten years.

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Feb 4 2012 05:10

Brother as i am working in india as nurse i know the plights of indian nurses who are working in private sector.While i was working in vishakapatanam in the year of 2010 my salary was just 2000rs.Do you know how was the night shift there .After 10 days continuous night we are compelled to do the morning shift also. The hospitals name was indus.THe hospital management will take all our certificates in their custody and compelled us to sign abond of 2years.if we want to break the bonds we want to give 50000-100000rs there.May be the staff nurse working in the government will told you that she is getting 9000 as a salary.Give me your email id i can sent a lot of salary certifictes to you as solid proofs

working class s...
Feb 4 2012 11:00

I was not disputing how much you say you earn (only you know that) I was merely quoting nurses who say the earned more. I am absolutely in full support of your action, and I am a nurse myself.


Feb 4 2012 14:39

ok fine dear.And very thankfull for your support

Feb 4 2012 16:43
munch666nath wrote:
ok fine dear.And very thankfull for your support

yes, don't worry we do believe you. Best of luck in your struggle - please do feel free to post here in future with updates, as many people abroad are interested in your dispute!

working class s...
Feb 4 2012 20:31

Just a thought Munch666nath, but would you like to like to write a report regarding what is going on. Clearly as a nurse in Keral, you know exactly what is happening. I could post on this site.

my email address is matthewm[AT]



Admin edit: email broken to prevent spam. Replace [AT] with @.

Feb 4 2012 20:58

Munch666nath, I second Matthew on this.. we would love you to write together areport about what is happening where you are! smile

Feb 5 2012 05:13

Defenitely friend ....very happy to hear this...i am ready to write the plights of indian nurses.....mail me

Feb 5 2012 05:15

Actually i am new here in this blog and can you please tell me where should i post the reports....regards

working class s...
Feb 5 2012 11:08

Ill email you


Feb 5 2012 11:32

Great stuff, thanks guys

Feb 5 2012 11:50

Thank you guyssss for all of your supports...thank you very much...

Feb 5 2012 12:18

yes friend i am ready to write with you....with pleasure...thankyou