| Contract nurses of Patna Medical College and Hospital on Tuesday. Picture by Ashok Sinha |
Contract nurses of Patna Medical College and Hospital on Tuesday threatened to go an indefinite strike from March 7 in demand for regularisation of their services.
The strike threat comes at a time the health department has decided to conduct interview for recruiting around 3,500 regular nurses. Although the contract nurses can appear for the interview and importance would be given to their experience, an association of nurses has issued the threat fearing they would become jobless.
Bithika Biswas, the general secretary of Bihar A Grade Nurses Association, said the organisation was in talks with contract nurses in the other districts too. She claimed they have also assured their counterparts in Patna to go on strike from Friday.
Recently, the health department issued an advertisement regarding the decision to recruit around 3,500 regular nurses for the state-run hospitals through interview. The date of interview has not been fixed yet. Contract nurses could also be regularised if they appear in the interview and crack it.
Sources in the health department confirmed to The Telegraph that if the department appoints around 3,500 regular nurses on time, there would be no job security for the contract nurses.
“Now, that the department has decided to appoint regular nurses, there would be no requirement for an extension to contract nurses (their term ends in September),” said a health department official.
On Tuesday, contract nurses at PMCH, who are members of Bihar A Grade Nurses Association, demonstrated outside the nurses’ hostel. They have let the health department, district magistrate know their decision to go on indefinite strike from March 7 if their services were not regularised unconditionally within three days.
The health department is although in no mood to show mercy. “We would take disciplinary action against the contract nurses who would go on indefinite strike. Even if they decide to sit for the interview later, we will not allow them,” said Deepak Kumar, principal secretary, health.
Biswas, also a contract nurse at PMCH, said: “Why do we need to appear in interviews for regularisation of our services when we have proved our mettle. The government should reward our work by regularising us. But it is playing with our future.”