Friday, December 2, 2022

Broken promises and fractured careers of nurses

The “Nurses on strike” has been in the news for quite a while without either side relenting. It is a painful sight to behold. It is a disturbing trend to see strikes becoming a common occurrence because such drastic steps to stage a protest are not without reason. It is even more sadly alarming that health care staffs are forced to go to the streets to voice their grievances.
It is observed that one frequent reason for strikes that has been recurring in Medical and the Education department is non-payment of Staff Salaries for duties performed. Even the Bible in Leviticus 19:13 commands ‘not to hold back the wages of a hired man overnight’. To withhold Salary of an employee on whom the whole family survives therefore is not only shameful but even sinful. Such practices of delay in payment of salary should be stopped. It is not unknown how corrupt officers of Govt departments tend to deposit money in banks for fixed deposit interest while the public services suffer for want of funds. Even the Supreme Court had stated that salaries and pensions are ‘rightful entitlements’ of government employees and in case of delay, they should be paid with interest. Another reason for frequent protest and strikes in the Medical Department is observed to be False assurances and promises during the Covid-19 crisis that stands broken today, compelling the nurses to go onto the streets on strike. This is a matter that ought to prick the conscience of any sensible human with empathy. What is even more heart wrenching is the painful story of how the Medical department had exploited these nurses, now on the streets. When their services were required, they were given assurances and promises of recruitment on “Regular basis” vide order DHFW-1-534/COVID-19/2019-2020 that lured them to join the Govt services during Covid-19 Pandemic. A look into the nature of employment of the nurses throws more light on how they were given assurances of recruitment on regular basis, more so because the govt intends to discontinue the queue system in due course of time. It is painfully learnt that many nurses left their higher paying former job earned through seniority but forfeited it all to join the Nagaland Govt job as they were assured recruitment on “Regular basis” as even the advertisement testify. Therefore, to deny them the assurances on the mere ground of a corrigendum is heartless and inhumane on the part of the Government. Thus, not only were their services exploited, but even their former careers and its prospects irreparably damaged. It is prayed that the government relook into the present plight of our Covid-19 warrior nurses and heroes who risked their lives to serve the people and the government during the time of the dreaded Covid-19 pandemic. To leave them in the lurch citing any other reason, defying the assurances of the recruiting advertisement is a betrayal of the trust of many nurses who risked and gave their all in times of need.
Robert N. Solo, Kuolachalie Seyie
Kohima, Nagaland

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