The Kerala High Court told the government to invoke Essential Services Maintenance (ESMA) against the nurses in case they went on indefinite strike. The court issued the directive on a petition filed by private hospitals.
The High Court bench said that human lives are more important and hence government should invoke ESMA in case nurses decide to go ahead with an indefinite strike from July 17.
Private hospital managements approached court stating that they won't be able to operate intensive care units and other emergency services in case nurses decide to go ahead with the strike.
The managements had on Wednesday threatened to shut down private hospitals from Wednesday. But as the Health Minister threatened of dire consequences the management association declared that they never took such a decision.
The United Nurses Association (UNA) informed that they would continue with their plan to strike from Monday. They also said that their only demand is to ensure the minimum wage recommended by Supreme Court.
The protesting nurses are demanding a minimum wage of ₹20,000. They also state that the management is doing injustice by merging daily allowance (DA) with basic salary and fixing it at ₹17,200.
The functioning of hospitals across the state will be affected, with almost 80,000 nurses going on an indefinite strike from July 17.