The indefinite nurses' strike at Delhi's prestigious All-India Institute of Medical Sciences cannot continue, the High Court said today after the hospital sought legal help to end it. AIIMS -- which earlier appealed to the nurses to end their strike in view of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic -- contended that the strike was illegal and violated the Industrial Disputes Act. The hospital also asserted that the strike violated an earlier order of the court prohibiting any such action by AIIMS employees.
Noting the contentions of the hospital, a single-judge Bench of Justice Navin Chawla said the hospital was considering the nurses' demands but for now, they are being restrained from continuing with the strike till further orders. They were also issued notice, asking them to respond to the hospital's appeal.
The hospital has called the nurses for talks this evening.
The strike had started yesterday over a list of 23 demands which was topped by revised salary under Sixth Pay Commission.
Yesterday, AIIMS Director Professor Randeep Guleria asked the nurses to rethink their strike in view of the Covid situation, especially as AIIMS is one of the key dedicated facilities for treatment of the disease.
The nurses, he said, had misinterpreted the Sixth Pay Commission rules. But the government was willing to consider their demands.
"I am very proud of the AIIMS family for the tremendous work done during the COVID-19... the nation is proud. Unfortunately, at this time of pandemic, the nurses' union has gone on strike," he had said in a video message to the hospital's Nurses Union.
"It, however, seems inappropriate that when a country is fighting a pandemic...the nurse union has decided to go on a strike...I appeal to all of you to come back to work and really help get us through," Professor Guleria said.