ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Nursing Grievances

Nurses in private hospitals are little better than bonded labour.

The world over nursing is considered a profession for selfless service and nurses are respected by society, but in India those who work to care for the sick are shown little respect. This becomes evident not only in the way nursing staff are treated but in how much they are paid. The worst paymasters are in the flourishing private health services sector. This has become evident after nurses in Kerala, Delhi and Mumbai formed unions and organisations, and began protesting about the abysmal pay and working conditions as well as the blatantly illegal near-bondage employment requirements in private hospitals and nursing homes. While government hospital nurses have been unionised for a long time, private hospital nurses have only recently begun organising themselves. Starting from late 2011 and well into this year, agitations and strikes by nurses have shown how the managements of these private hospitals take away the nurses’ original certificates and also ask for Rs 50,000 as a “bond”. Should the nurse wish to leave before the bond period is over, she forfeits the money in order to get her certificates back. In almost all these private hospitals that make substantial profi ts, nurses are paid between only Rs 6,000 and 10,000 a month.

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