Amidst the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, around 5,000 nurses of Delhi’s All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) have gone on an indefinite strike from Monday, December 14. These nurses have called the strike over their long-pending 23 demands, which also includes concerns with the Sixth Central Pay Commission.
Delhi AIIMS Nurse’s Union, the nodal body for the nursing staff had earlier called this strike from December 16th, but they planned to prepone the same. They claim that the country’s top medical institution is hiring nurses from outside on a contract basis.
The nurses’ demands include correction of an anomaly in the fixation of the initial payment as per the Sixth Central Pay Commission (CPC). They also demand redressal of issues such as the abolishment of gender-based reservation in the recruiting process of nursing officers and contractual appointments, enhancement of hospital accommodation, and cadre restructuring.
Reacting to the decision taken by the nursing staff, AIIMS Director Dr. Randeep Guleria, in a video message, has called this strike “inappropriate and unfortunate” considering the criticality of the coronavirus pandemic. Dr. Guleria appealed to the nurses to call off their strike and return to work.
Meanwhile, taking note of the situation at India’s one of the most important hospitals, the Union health ministry has directed the administration at AIIMS to ensure no disruption of nursing functions. The ministry also clarified that non-compliance of the ‘code of conduct’, laid down as per a Delhi High Court judgment, whereby no employee or staff or faculty member will cease work for any reason, will be treated as an offense under the Disaster Management Act. Though the government has also given assurance that their concerns would be heard soon.
However, despite the assurance, the union is adamant to continue their strike until all 23 demands are met. In case the strike continues, the patients at AIIMS are going to face a tough time ahead.