Nurses drop strike after high court calls it illegal

The Madras high court on Wednesday stayed the three-day-old strike by nurses in Tamil Nadu, prompting the protesting nurses to call it off.

The first bench, comprising Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice M.Sundar, passed an interim order restraining the Tamil Nadu MRB Nurses Empowerment Association and MRB Nurses Welfare Association from taking recourse to strike.

“Strike called by persons, who are engaged in providing essential services, is called for stern action. We thus deem it appropriate to declare the strike as illegal,” the court said.

Nurses from different parts of Tamil Nadu have been on strike demanding better wages than the Rs 7,500 per month they get paid now and absorption as permanent staff in government hospitals.

Thousands of nurses, in their white uniform, assembled on the grounds inside the Directorate of Medical and Rural Health Services complex here, protesting they are employed as contract workers and paid a consolidated sum irrespective of the hours of work they put in.

Officials, who announced the interim orders of the court to more than 2,000 nurses holding a sit-in agitation on the Directorate of Medical Services campus in Chennai, said the court had given them time till Thursday evening to rejoin duty and that till then no coercive measures would be taken against them.