Kerala nurses end strike (Lead)

August 17th, 2012 - 1:28 am ICT by IANS  

Kochi, Aug 16 (IANS) The striking nurses, including those who threatened to make a suicidal jump from the terrace of a Kerala hospital, called off their protests after their demands were met late Thursday.

The final talks were held between nurses and Leader of Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan, who addressed the striking nurses and officially announced that the strike had been called off.

Three nurses had climbed atop the hospital building early Wednesday when the strike by a section of nurses in the Kothamangalam Mar Baselious Hospital in Ernakulam — demanding that the hospital authorities make permanent the services of all the nurses working on a labour bond contract — entered its 114th day.

Labour Minister Shibhu Baby John, Health Minister V.S. Sivakumar and Kerala government’s chief whip P.C. George held several rounds of talks with the trio. However, they remained adamant on their demand that they be given a permanent post at the hospital.

The settlement was reached after the hospital management agreed that the prescribed minimum wages would be given to all the nurses.

The salaries of striking nurses for the 115 days of their strike would also be paid and no disciplinary action would be taken against them.

Another round of talks will be held Sunday in which the Ernakulam district collector will finalise the terms and conditions of the settlement between the hospital management and the nurses.

“We all have taken education loans and the cooling period is now over. We have no means to repay it with our meagre allowance,” a colleague said.

“The three on the roof top recently received a recovery notice from the bank,” she added.

A shutdown was observed in Kothamangalam Thursday to put pressure on the authorities for an early resolution to the issue.

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