Delhi: AIIMS nurses on indefinite strike over suspension of union's president, Harish Kajla

The nurses’ union of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Delhi, is on an indefinite strike from Tuesday, April 26, 2022, because the union's president Harish Kajla was suspended

Delhi: AIIMS nurses on indefinite strike over suspension of union's president, Harish Kajla
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Ashlin Mathew

The nurses’ union of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Delhi, is on an indefinite strike from Tuesday, April 26, 2022, because the union's president Harish Kajla was suspended. The union has demanded revocation of Kajla’s suspension for restarting work. All the nurses in the hospital are on strike; none of them are in the out-patient department or the operation theatres.

The nurses from the main Operation theatre complex within AIIMS had demanded similar works timings as the rest of the OT staff. In the main OT complex, the work shifts are 7.30 am-3.30 pm, 3 pm-9.30 pm and 9 pm-7.30 am. For the rest of the OT staff, the timings are 8 am-2 pm, 2 pm-8 pm and 8 pm-8 am. Similar timings ensure ease of transport for all nursing staffers.

The main OT nursing staff had been requesting the change in timings for a year, but on Friday, April 22, they got together to demand that administration finally take a decision. On Saturday, April 23, the medical AIIMS superintendent spoke to the union and agreed to change the timings. Soon after the meeting, several of the nurses in the main OT got a notice demanding an explanation as to why they stopped work on Friday. Some were served the notice on Monday and Kajla was suspended.

The Resident Doctors Association claimed that on Saturday, there was a dispute between Kajla and a resident doctor. The doctors alleged that Kajla was rude to the resident doctor. The Association of Resident Doctors of All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, wrote on social media, “Doctors and nurses have worked together in harmony, with mutual respect, to bring AIIMS to new heights. Without good nursing care, the holistic treatment of patients can't be imagined. Voice of RDA AIIMS is not against any person or union, but against this unjust behaviour.”

The nurses allege that the resident doctor, who was also the on-duty officer, is too junior to be sent to them. “Sending a resident doctor, who has no authority or administrative powers, to resolve long-standing issues is disrespecting nurses like us. The resident doctor wanted to act like our boss,” said a senior nurse, who did not want to be identified.


In a letter to AIIMS, Delhi director, the nurses union wrote, "In response to your unilateral decision to suspend Harish Kajla, president of AIIMS Nurses Union, without even citing proper reasons, the union has called an emergency executive meeting decided to go on indefinite strike from 8 AM, April 26, 2022, demanding immediate revocation of suspension of Harish Kumar Kajla and stopping of all kinds of retaliative measures against union executives and Union members of main OT".

The nurses’ union alleged that Kajla was suspended without proper reason. “The union has always been receptive and open to expressing our genuine concerns and version throughout this issue. But unfortunately, we were neither called, nor contacted via any communication which forced us to go on an indefinite strike to safeguard the basic rights of our members. We would like to remind you that the undemocratic AIIMS administration will be solely responsible for the consequences if any,” stated the letter.

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