The Madras High Court today directed the Tamil Nadu government to issue orders enhancing the monthly salary of contract nurses from Rs 7,700 to Rs 14,000 with an annual increment of Rs 500 within two weeks.
The first bench of Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice PT Asha passed the interim orders on a PIL filed by N Ganesh, seeking to restrain the nurses from resorting to strikes demanding regularisation of their services.
It then posted the matter to July 2 and asked the government to submit the compliance report on that date.
Referring to the counter affidavit filed by Additional Secretary, Health and Family Welfare, U Anbu, the bench said, "We are informed that a proposal was sent to the Government of India for the revision of salary of the contract staff nurses and the Government of India has approved the same.
"Orders enhancing the salary from Rs 7,700 to Rs 14,000, with an annual increment of Rs 500, will be issued shortly. Necessary orders shall be passed within a period of two weeks."
The matter relates to the demand of the contract nurses to fix their minimum wage at Rs 22,000 per month.
Alluding to the formation of a core committee, headed by the Principal Secretary, Health and Family Welfare department, to improve the working conditions of the contract nurses, the bench said, "The core committee shall give the nurses concerned and the associations an opportunity of hearing and decide on a case-to-case basis.
"In the case of the nurses performing same duties, equal remuneration will have to be paid. The total exercise has to be completed by the core committee within a period of six months from today."
The court was informed in the counter affidavit that as on April 19, 2014, the contract nurses absorbed into the regular stream would be paid the regular time-scale of pay and that steps were being taken to bring the remaining contract nurses into the regular stream as and when vacancies arose.
It was further stated that the contract nurses would be eligible for the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) benefits on their individual subscription of 12 per cent and 1.75 per cent on the basic pay with the employer's contribution of 13.15 per cent EPF and 4.75 per cent Employees' State Insurance every month.
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