The Nurses Union of Delhi AIIMS called off their strike on Tuesday night after a meeting with the hospital administration, hours after the Delhi High Court restrained it from continuing its agitation. On Monday, around 5,000 nurses of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) here went on a strike over their long pending demands, including those with regard to the Sixth Central Pay Commission (CPC).
“They (nurses) have called off their strike and have joined their duties,” AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria told PTI. The hospital administration, along with health ministry officials, held a meeting during which the union was assured that all “local issues” would be addressed immediately, while those pertaining to the ministry will be dealt separately as early as possible, sources privy to the development said.
Following the around two-hour meeting, the nurses’ union called off its strike, they said. The union’s demands included correction of an anomaly in the fixation of the initial pay as per the sixth CPC, redressal of issues such as abolishment of gender-based reservation in the recruiting process of nursing officers and contractual appointments, enhancement of hospital accommodation and cadre restructuring.
Earlier in the day, the Delhi High Court restrained the nurses union from continuing with its indefinite strike. Justice Navin Chawla passed the order on a plea moved by AIIMS against the strike by the nurses.
The court restrained the nurses from going on strike till further orders after AIIMS said it was considering the grievances of the union. It also issued notice to the nurses union and listed the matter for hearing in January 2021.
AIIMS told the court that in view of the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic if the strike continued the hospital would come to a stand still which would be not in public interest as it is a Covid-19 facility as well. After nurses went on strike, patient care services at the emergency, outpatient departments and operation theatres were curtailed and several patients were forwarded to other hospitals with only resident doctors and faculty members and senior nursing officers managing the rest of the operations on Tuesday.
The health ministry on Monday had issued an order stating that non-compliance of the “code of conduct”, laid down as per a 2002 Delhi High Court judgment, whereby no AIIMS employee or staff or faculty member will cease work for any reason, will be treated as an offence under the Disaster Management Act. In a video message on Monday, Guleria had termed the strike as “inappropriate and unfortunate” in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic and appealed to nurses to call off their agitation and return to work.