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Govt assures high court call on nurses’ pay demand in a month

There were sit-in demonstrations and relay hunger strikes which were withdrawn on November 29

Tapas Ghosh And Subhajoy Roy | Published 03.12.21, 09:35 AM
Representational image.

Representational image.

File photo

The state government informed Calcutta High Court on Thursday that the demand of nurses in government hospitals seeking uniformity in their pay scale with other state government employees with similar qualifications will be considered within a month. 

Appearing for the state, advocate general S.N. Mookherjee informed the division bench headed by Chief Justice Prakash Srivastava about the government’s intention.

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“Our government has decided to consider the issue by one month. The nurses have already suspended their agitation after receiving assurance from the government,” Mookherjee said.

The bench was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking court’s intervention into the agitation by the nurses that the petitioner said has disrupted normal functioning of hospitals.

Nurses from state government-run hospitals began their latest round of agitation on November 13. There were sit-in demonstrations and relay hunger strikes which were withdrawn on November 29.

Appearing for the nurses, advocate Kishore Datta said: “My clients had been agitating because of disparities in the their salaries and even after several requests the government did not consider the issue.”

The bench adjourned the hearing till January.

“We have stopped the latest round of agitation. We want to give the government some time to clear our demands,” Bhaswati Mukherjee, the secretary of Nurses Unity that is leading the agitation, said.

Nurses working for government-run hospitals sat in a protest in July demanding pay parity with other state employees with similar qualifications.

The protesting nurses had said that a nurse with a diploma should be entitled to Level-12 pay but they get Level-9 pay. Nurses across all categories — diploma-holder, BSc-degree holder, experienced, fresher — get less than what they should be entitled to, they said.

“An engineering diploma-holder gets Level-12 pay. There is a difference of nearly Rs 8,000 between levels 9 and 12,” a nurse had said.

The agitation was withdrawn in the first week of August after the state health department told them that their demand for a pay hike had been sent to the state finance department.

A fresh round of agitation began last month. This time the protesting nurses said though they were promised some development within three-four months, nothing has happened so far. The nurses said that senior health department officials were nonchalant and could not commit anything on when their demands would be met.

Last updated on 03.12.21, 09:35 AM
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