After farmers, Kerala nurses plan to go on long march

They are upset that a compensation package negotiated last July is yet to be implemented

Thiruvananthapuram: Only weeks after farmers in north Kerala planned a long march to the state capital to stop a proposed national highway cutting through their farmlands, nurses in the state have firmed up on plans for a similar march.

The nurses are seeking a positive response to their long-standing grievance for a better pay package.

Jasmin Shah, the president of the United Nurses’ Association, which is spearheading the agitation, announced on Saturday that the nurses would launch their indefinite strike on April 24.

Their plan is to go on a long march to highlight their grievances, from Cherthala to the state capital, Thiruvananthapuram.

From May 12 onwards, the Indian Nurses’ Association will also join the strike, and it is feared that as many as 457 hospitals in the private sector in Kerala will be crippled by the strike.

Nurses in the state have been upset that a compensation package that was negotiated last July with the intervention of chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan is yet to be implemented.

On that occasion, government authorities had agreed to a monthly minimum package of Rs20,000 (Dh1,112), but nearly nine months later the official government order on the matter is awaited.

The UNA’s discussions with the labour commissioner have failed and the association announced that it is unwilling to attend any more discussions.

Nurses’ representatives are already on strike in front of the state secretariat, but the association hopes to highlight the issue of their low compensation through the long march.

UNA officials said the plan was to cover the 168km from Cherthala to Thiruvananthapuram over eight days.

The nurses have received wide support on social media for their demand for a better compensation package, with many wondering why the Communist Party of India Marxist government in Kerala is not serious about the demand of this particular working class.


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