Explained: Why are AIIMS nurses protesting?

Written by Ashna Butani, edited by Explained Desk | New Delhi |

Updated: December 15, 2020 6:21:24 PM

AIIMS Nurses Union members raise slogans during their indefinite strike in New Delhi (PTI Photo / Yadav Atul) (PTI15-12-2020_000098A)

About 5,000 AIIMS nurses were on one indefinite strike on Monday in the afternoon to support a number of requests, including the lack of clarity of their salary structure in the Sixth Payments Commission. Despite requests from the administration to continue the work, given the situation of Covid-19, the nurses refused to give up.

What are their salary demands?

In a letter to the AIIMS director on November 13, the nurses cited 23 unresolved requests. The most important of these is the request to address the sixth Commission payment anomaly in terms of their salaries. The nurses said their salary was set at 18,460 rupees per month, but they receive 17,140 rupees. They said that their request was not a salary increase, but rather that they would be paid what is mentioned in the Sixth Payment Commission. They had written to the administration last month, stating that they would go on an indefinite strike if the problems were not resolved soon.

What are their other requests?

The nurses are also protesting against the gender reservation at AIIMS, which requires 80% of health care staff to be women. Nurses say the quota leaves many skilled men unemployed. 📣 Follow Express Explained on Telegram

Their other claims relate, inter alia, to the pension scheme, the restructuring of staff, the remuneration of qualifications and changes in the job description.

The hospital also decided to outsource nurses on a contractual basis, which further infuriated nurses. The nurses said that the previous candidates had to take an entrance test in order to be recruited. Recruitment of contract nurses, they say, will have a negative impact on the superior quality of care provided by AIIMS.

What did the AIIMS director turn to nurses?

In a video message to the nurses’ union on Monday, AIIMS director Dr. Randeep Guleria called on all nurses not to strike during the pandemic.

“The nurses’ union submitted 23 applications and almost all applications were met by the AIIMS administration and the government. There is one claim that they have insisted on and that is practically a perceived anomaly in the determination of payment, as regards the Sixth CPC. However, it seems inappropriate that when the country fights a pandemic and we fight for loved ones and loved ones to save lives and we know we have to work for a few more months, and the vaccine can provide a solution, unfortunately, at this time the union nurses went on strike, “said Dr. Guleria.

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