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The Tamil Nadu government has informed the Madras High Court that a core committee, headed by the Principal Secretary,Health and Family Welfare Department,would be formed to improve working conditions of contract nurses. U Anbu, Additional secretary to Government, Health and Family Welfare Department stated this in his status report filed before the First Bench, comprising Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice Abdul Quddhose. Senior counsel P Wilson, appearing for MRB Nurses Welfare Association submitted that government had in a notification in 2015 when recuitments were made, promised that the nurses would be absorbed in the permanent post within two years. However even after two years they had not been absorbed in service, despite vacancies. The petitioner also submitted that the consolidation pay of Rs 7,700 per month was far below the minimum wages which was Rs 18,000 per month. The work done by the nurses who have gone on strike was similar to that by other nurses in permanent post who were paid higher salary.
Hence concept of equal pay equal work should be applied. Counsel said that the association had suspended the strike on a order from the court, which had directed the government to address their genuine grievances. However this order had not been adhered to, he said and described the formation of a commitee as just an eyewash. The bench posted to January 12, further hearing of the petition filed by one N Ganesh. Anbu, in his counter affidavit, said the government had decided that concrete efforts would be taken on how the contract nurses could be brought under regular time scale. This could be done keeping in mind various administrative issues and financial implications, he said. The Director of Medical and Rural health services has also assured that nearly 200 MRB Contract nurses would be brought into regular time scale as per Medical Services Recruitment Board seniority before the financial year end. As it would take some more years to bring all 9,533 contract nurses on time scale, considering pay structures in other states, contract pay enhancement in consultation with the finance department and national health mission has to be examined, he said. The project director and state health society has been requested to take immediate action. The Director has also been requested to send suitable proposal to enhance cadre strength/new creation of posts of nurses, equivalent to norms of Indian Nursing Council, he said.
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