Justice for Nurses in Kerala
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Grant Justice for Nurses working in Private Hospitals in Kerala
Nursing community is the life line of the healthcare system. In the state of Kerala in India, the nurses working in private sector hospitals are on agitation demanding for better wages and stoppage of exploitation on work. They are demanding for a minimum basic wage of Rs.20,000.00 per month, against that of *Rs.27,800.00 in government sector in Kerala. There is also a direction from the Supreme Court of India to the states to ensure the minimum wages. **According to nurses union, “nurses with graduation were taken as trainees in private hospitals and were paid only Rs 6500.00 per month”. They are also asking for better working conditions in hospitals. It is understood that the demands of striking nurses are reasonable.
Catholic church in Kerala has a major role in this issue. Majority of the nurses in Kerala belongs to catholic community and a considerable number of private hospitals in Kerala are under catholic management. ***193 hospitals in Kerala are members of the Catholic Health Association of India (CHAI) in Kerala region. The Catholic church is running the hospitals not for profit, but as part of its charitable work and the church always stands for social justice in the sector. ****Pope Francis also mentioned that, ”the exploitation of labour is a mortal sin.” Unfortunately, catholic managements under CHAI in Kerala region joined other private managements and took a negative approach towards the demands of the nurses. This has raised many questions about the social responsibility of the catholic church in the society.
Nurses in Kerala are doing a wonderful job in maintaining the state's healthcare system competitive. They are definitely an asset to the church and to the state. The nurses unions announced indefinite strike to achieve their demands, which makes the issue more complicated and create a miserable situation to the patients. This has been postponed to Wednesday 19th of July 2017 on the request of the Chief minister of Kerala.
In such a situation, we believe that the catholic hospital managements have to take an initiative to solve this issue. Hence, we hereby request, Dr. Mathew Abraham C.Ss.R, Director General of The Catholic Health Association of India, Mar Baselios Cardinal Cleemis Catholicos, President of Catholic Bishop's Conference of India and Mar George Cardinal Alencherry, Major Archbishop of Syro Malabar Church, to urgently intervene in the issue and take necessary steps to agree the demands of the nurses and thus to uphold the values of the catholic church towards social justice and humanism.
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Image credit: The New Indian Express
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