Kerala HC bans indefinite strike by Nurses' Unions under ESMA

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A section of nurses attached to private hospitals, who were planning to go on a statewide indefinite strike from July 17 demanding higher wages, on Saturday made a decision to put the proposed agitation on hold till July 19, following government intervention.

However, the United Nurses Association (UNA), that has been at the forefront of the protest, maintained that they will not end the strike till their demands are met.

He said that UNA will stand by the demands being raised by nurses. "We are not ready for any compromise on this", UNA president Jasmine Shah told reporters.

"Mediation talks will be held at the high court on June 19 and we will be sending a legal team". KCBC sources said a decision was taken to enhance the salary to the level recommended by the wage revision committee.

One nurse was confronted by a picketer, who called her a "scab" and asked how she could sleep at night, Mann said.

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The Massachusetts Nurses Association said in a statement that they "have been focused on and dedicated to maintaining a peaceful picket line throughout these last several days", and said they didn't know about Sunday morning's incident, which they say involved outside organizations, until after local media reported on it. "That has not and will not change, and we will continue with our peaceful picketing and family-centered activities as we head into the final 24 hours of this forced lockout".

The strike call was given by United Nurses Association and Indian Nurses Association demanding minimum wages of Rs 20,000 as fixed by the Supreme Court. "We will press for it during the talks mediated by high court-appointed advocates' commission and the chief minister", he said.

Justice PB Suresh Kumar stayed the proposed nurses' strike on a petition which argued that their services fall under the ambit of essential services and sought invocation of the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) provisions against striking nurses. UNA leaders said the chief minister's office (CMO) had also informed nurses about the willingness to launch mediation efforts and this also contributed to the decision.

An estimated 80,000 nurses from private hospitals had threatened to join the strike.

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