Nurses call off strike after government assures of fulfilling demands
GUWAHATI: The general nursing midwifery (GNM) nurses in the state called off their strike after four days on November 29. Their strike affected the health services across the city as well as the state.
At least 380 nurses of the Guwahati Medical College & Hospital (GMCH) had suspended their services continuously for four days. One of their major demands included “same post same salary.”
Some other main demands of the All Assam Nurses Association (AANA) included the implementation of the revision of the pay of seventh pay commission and the service rules as prescribed.
They have also been asking the government to restore their designation from staff nurse to nurse.
“We had been putting forth our demands in front of the government for a long time but to no avail. After receiving no favourable response from, we were forced to call this strike,” Barnali Dehngia, central committee executive member of the AANA informed G Plus.
Additionally, in Jorhat the nurses of Jorhat Medical College and Hospital (JMCH) had withdrawn their services since November 26.
During the four days of the strike called by the GNM nurses, the health services remained badly hit in the city and across the entire state.
Reportedly, two pregnant women died in Jorhat Medical College Hospital (JMCH) following a delay in surgery due to the lack of nurses in the hospital and another young girl died in a similar incident at a Sivasagar hospital.
However, the JMCH hospital authorities informed that the two women were admitted in an already critical state and the nurses’ strike did not have any role to play in their death.
“We did not intentionally want to create any trouble for the general public but were forced to take this step due to government’s apathy,” said another protesting GNM nurse at GMCH.
Further, on the second day of the strike, close to 1,500 nurses from across the state had assembled at GMCH for a demonstration regarding their various demands. Protesting nurses from Dibrugarh, Silchar, Dhubri, Tezpur, Barpeta and Nalbari among others had gathered in Guwahati to raise slogans and protests for their demands.
On the other hand, cracking down on the striking nurses, the police arrested around 500 nurses from GMCH whereas 200 nurses were arrested from Jorhat too. However, they were later released.
In the absence of the GNM nurses, the GMCH was being operated by regional nursing colleges, GNM first year student nurses and other paramedical staff who filled in their posts.
“We asked the nurses to not carry on the strike at the cost of the lives of the patients. The nurses should be a little considerate about the patients who have travelled long distances to come and receive treatment,” said minister of state for health and family welfare Pijush Hazarika.
Additionally on November 29, the AANA secretary Junu Chetia informed that the state government had assured them that all their demands would be looked into and be acted upon soon and they ended their indefinite strike.
“We held a meeting with the officials of the health and family welfare department and they convinced us that our long-pending demands will be considered seriously by the department. We have therefore called off our strike,” said Chetia.
She further added that they will hold a meeting with senior officials of the health department on December 4 to decide on the future course of action. She, however, added that they will intensify their protest if the meeting does not yield any positive result in their favour.