Nurses working in private hospitals in Kerala will go on an indefinite strike from Sunday, demanding a wage revision, even as epidemic threat looms large in the state.

The nurses called for the indefinite strike after talks between the nurses' union, labour commissioner K Biju and labour minister TP Ramakrishnan failed. The hospitals agreed to a minimum monthly wage of Rs 12,000, while the union demanded at least Rs 18,000.

The nurses were promised a wage revision from 2016 onwards following their protests back in 2013. As per the pay scale fixed in 2013, the minimum basic pay is Rs 9,500. However, nurses allege that several hospitals in the state are not even paying the minimum wages. 

Meanwhile, labour commissioner Biju claimed that a decision on the minimum wages would be taken only after discussions scheduled at the labour commissionerate on June 27 and urged the nurses to withdraw the strike as the advisory board has decided to hold the meeting.

The strike has come at a time when the state's death toll this year from epidemics and related diseases rose to 114. 10 more people, including a 3-year-old, died of fever in Kerala on Friday.