BMCRI, striking nurses to hold talks tomorrow

The Labour Commission will hold another round of reconciliatory meetings between the Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute (BMCRI) and those contract nurses who have been relieved of their services in government hospitals.

The contract nurses are on strike, demanding that the government regularise their services.

An official from the Labour Commission told Deccan Herald that a meeting will be held on February 21 in an attempt to resolve the issue. Over 409 nurses working on contract were relieved of their services on Monday, following a decision taken at BMCRI’s governing council meeting on Saturday.

The official explained that if BMCRI does not agree to take the nurses back into service, the issue will come up before the Labour Court.

Not contract nurses

“These nurses, who were working on contract, were not deputed by any agency, but hired directly; the government cannot take employees directly on contract.
“Secondly, these are not contract nurses, but stipendiary nurses (even if they are on contract). The contracts of many nurses have been renewed. The State government cannot suddenly relieve them from their services,” the official said.

The BMCRI claimed that it had relieved the nurses of their services, because they had never given them notice before boycotting work and because they had ignored calls to end the protest and rejoin services, even dragging the issue to court.

The boycott has forced to many Government hospitals in the City, including Victoria, Vani Vilas, Minto and Bowring and Lady Curzon, to operate with only 50 per cent of their nursing staff.

The shortage of staff has affected scheduled surgeries as most nurses working on contract were those assisting doctors in the operation theatres. One of the striking nurses said that the Surgical Intensive Care Unit (SICU) in Victoria has been closed as there is not enough staff to keep the operation theatre running.

‘Closed for fumigation’

Sources, however, claimed that the SICU is closed for fumigation. Members of the BMCRI Stipendiary Staff Nurses Welfare Association have decided to continue their strike February 22 onwards at Bannappa Park, if the reconciliation meeting fails.

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