COVID crisis: AIIMS nurses union threatens for mass casual leave, indefinite strike if demands not met

New Delhi [India], June 3 (ANI): Amid coronavirus pandemic, the AIIMS Nurses' union have decided to go on mass casual leave on June 10 over their demands for better facilities at workplace.

If their demands are not met, AIIMS nurses will go for an indefinite strike from June 15, said Harish Kajla, President of AIIMS nurses union on Wednesday.

It was the third consecutive day of protest by AIIMS nurses, demanding better working facilities for nursing staff, especially female who are deputed for longer hours in the COVID-19 area.

Kajla has written a letter to the director of the institute citing his concerns and threatening the administration about mass casual leave on June 10 and indefinite strike from June 15, if their demands or grievances get unheard.

"We don't want to go on strike in these difficult times of COVID, but it seems that the administration has failed to listen to us," he said.

"Nurses are severely affected by the long working hours (exceeded up to 7 to 8 hours) while wearing PPE kits in coronavirus departments. Conditions of women nurses are largely affected. We are demanding better facilities at the workplace for our nurses who are the backbone for our medical institute," he said.

"Our demands include: implementation of uniform 4 hours duty with PPE in COVID areas, safety of female nurses, uniform rotation policy between COVID and Non-COVID areas, establishment of proper donning and doffing area, refreshment after doffing, display of duty roster, shuttle service during night shift, provision of ambulance facility for COVID screening/COVID positive staff among others," said Kajla adding that there is no response from the administration.

So far, 47 nurses at AIIMS have tested positive for COVID-19. However, AIIMS authorities say that none of the healthcare workers was infected with the virus during patient care.

On Wednesday, Dr DK Sharma, MS of AIIMS informed that since February 1, atleast 329 healthcare workers found COVID-19 positive. Out of them, 47 are nurses, 86 hospital attendants, 62 sanitation staff and 77 security personnel among others. "But none of them was infected at the hospital," he said.

As many as three persons from the AIIMS have succumbed to the infection so far including, an electrician, a cook and sanitation supervisor. (ANI)