- As government announces three-year extension in contracts of ad-hoc nurses, nurses continue sit-in, say it’s not enough
- Nurses’ representative says they do not trust government, demand nothing less than regularisation
Nurses’ prayers were partially answered Saturday when the government offered them a three-year extension in their service contracts, however, till the filing of this report, they denied ending the protest at Charring Cross in the city, demanding an “absolutely permanent” place in the Health Department.
The announcement came as their violence-marred protest entered its sixth day. Nurses have been protesting against the Health Department for firing those who had been working on ad-hoc basis and for the regularisation of their services.
As per the government’s announcement made by Advisor to Punjab Chief Minister on Health Khwaja Salman Rafique, the nurses will be required to pass the Public Service Commission (PSC) exams at the end of the three-year contract to become eligible for a permanent post.
Rafique had proposed that in the event that the nurses under this contract fail to pass PCS exam, their contract will stand dissolved at the end of the three years.
However, after observing that the nurses were not buying the deal, the government representative assured the nurses that they will be given a permanent place upon the termination of their three-year contract.
To government’s disappointment, nurses denied relying on the hope of a permanent place after three years and termed the proposition a “false hope”.
Unfettered despite Friday’s police baton-charge and unmoved by the government’s ‘positive’ gesture, nurses refused to give up until the ‘complete’ acceptance of their demands and continued their peaceful sit-in throughout the day.
Responding to the government’s move, a representative of nurses, while talking to the journalists, said that they did not trust the government for regularising them after the termination of three-year contract.
“We are not asking for land cruisers or plots; all we want is our rights and the government is powerful enough to grant them. They had earlier promised regularisation to Ganga Ram nurses as well but did not grant them. We will not buy their proposal and continue our protest till the government regularises us,” she said.
On the other hand, nurses of the government hospitals in different cities of Punjab on Saturday morning also stopped working in support of the ad-hoc nurses’ sit-in.
Sources said that the Rawalpindi Allied Hospital and HolyFamilyHospital emergency nurses observing protest strike stayed away from their duties causing immense problem for the patients.
Nurses in Multan have also been protesting for the last five days, while the attendants of the patients in Children Complex are being irked by strike.
Moreover, Faisalabad’s civil and allied hospitals and Institute of Cardiology’s OPDs are also closed on account of a strike.
Vehari and Bhakkar nurses also staged protest, while the nurses of BhawalnagarDistrictHeadquarterHospital and BhawalpurVictoriaHospital staged sit-in outside the hospitals. Besides, Rahimyar Khan SheikhZaidHospital nurses are also observing a strike.
In the city on Friday, a group of nurses staged a sit-in in front of the office of the nursing director general. They later rallied to The Mall to sit-in in front of the Punjab Assembly, where a session was in progress. On seeing them advance towards The Mall, where protests are banned under Section 144, women police were called to stop them. Some nurses scuffled with the policewomen when they were stopped near Charring Cross.
Police baton charged the nurses to disperse them. The baton charge continued for over 10 minutes.
Resultantly, two nurses were injured. One of them was later identified as Amina, reported to be seven-month pregnant. They were taken to SirGangaRamHospital, where Amina was said to be in critical condition.