HC asks state government to clarify stand on Nursing strike
Nainital: The Uttarakhand high court on Thursday asked the government to clear its stand on the ongoing strike of nursing staff throughout the state. A public interest litigation filed by a high court advocate on Thursday had alleged that despite the state government invoking the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) on September 3, which prohibited the strike, Uttarakhand Nurses Services Association (UNSA) went ahead with the strike. The HC also sent a notice and an ‘envoy’ to meet the government and the association.
Earlier, in February this year, the state government had issued a notification which declared the services of all the employees working in medical health and family welfare department as ‘essential services’ under the provisions of ESMA.
As the nursing staff went on strike for three days in the hill state on the issue of pay grade discrepancies, hospital services crumbled. The nurses announced the three-day strike from September 7 and an indefinite one from September 14, if their demands were not met by the authorities.
The petition also mentions that due to the ongoing strike, poor residents of the hilly areas including the remotest parts of the state are suffering the most as they are incapable of affording treatment at private clinics and hospitals. The petitioner said that no government servant can engage himself/herself in strike or incitement or similar activities as per the Rule 22 of Uttarakhand Government Servants Conduct Rules, 2002. The petition says, “It has also been held by the apex court that employees are not entitled to go on strike even for demands that are legal.”