The nurses strike in Kerala took a new turn after trade unions came up against them, stating that wages should not be revised for nurses alone. The trade unions are demanding a pay hike for all hospital employees, and this has put the state in a fix. 

Nurses working in private hospitals in Kerala had launched an indefinite strike in front of Secretariat, demanding wage revisions. They decided to launch an agitation after the talks with hospital managements failed to reach any consensus. 

Earlier, Labour Minister T P Ramakrishnan had said that the issue related to a wage hike of nurses would be sorted out within a month. The nurses decided to continue with their strike stating that they cannot wait for a month. They had also threatened to intensify strike if the government did not take action at the earliest. 

But now, the new demand of the trade unions have put the government in a fix. 

"It is clear that the trade unions are trying to sabotage our claim. They were supporting the management during the discussion with labour commissioner," United Nurses Association state president Jasmine Shah said. 

The minister had said that it has the legal backing for ensuring minimum wages to nurses. "The Supreme Court had recommended fixing a minimum wage for private hospital nurses as ₹20,000. However, we need to reach a consensus with the managements of private hospitals, he said. 

Meanwhile, the private hospital managements said that they are ready to abide by any decision taken by the government. "If the government issue a notification on pay revision we are bound to follow it. But the move will have a direct impact on patients as there will be an escalation in treatment charges, Kerala Private Hospital's Association general secretary Hussain Koya Thangal said. 

He also said that the managements are ready to increase the pay by 30%, Times of India reports. 

Almost 70% people in Kerala depend on private hospitals and of the 1,500 private hospitals in the state only 25% is big. 60% of them have less than 100 beds. These hospitals cannot afford 50% hike demanded by nurses. We can go up to a maximum of 35%, he said.